A recent problem with my vehicle has lead me to consider the topic of fallback. We bought our car quickly—as a result of an accident—and we scored a great deal on  a 2010 Nissan Cube with lots of bells and whistles. One such whistle is a so-called “Intelligent Key System.”

You can probably guess where this is going. Sure enough, the ignition system failed. The fob has a physical key in the back, which can be used to open the doors, but alas, there is no physical ignition in which to use this key. So when the battery in the fob dies, or any kind of electrical/ computer error arrises you’re fucked.

In web design I put fallbacks in my products all the time. simple things such as:

background: #d6d6d6;
background: rgba(0,0,0,0.15);

Gives a simple hex value colour for IE and the like while the RGBA valiue is picked up by modern browsers. This is better than using IE specific classes or stylesheets and really doesn’t take much to work into your coding process.

The moral of the story is, if you are going to use some fancy new technology—be it a keyless ignition, a fancy new CSS3 development or HTML5 video—provide a fallback for those less fortunate. When something fails, but is backed up, the user will have a much nicer experience and may not even notice that they are missing out on something.

Also, If you’re thinking of buying a Nissan don’t go for the Intelligent Key System.