How Can Progressive Enhancement and Graceful Degradation Strategies Be Employed to Improve Interaction to Next Paint (INP) Across Different Devices and Network Conditions?


Enhancing Interaction to Next Paint (INP) across diverse devices and network conditions can be achieved through the strategic application of progressive enhancement and graceful degradation. These approaches ensure that a website delivers an optimal experience regardless of the user's device capabilities or network quality. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to implement these strategies effectively.

Understanding Interaction to Next Paint (INP)

Interaction to Next Paint (INP) is a metric that measures the responsiveness of a web page’s interactivity by tracking the time it takes for the next paint to occur after a user interaction. Improving INP is crucial to enhancing the user experience, especially for sites with intensive interactive elements.

Progressive Enhancement

Progressive Enhancement is a strategy to build web functionality with a solid foundation that's accessible and performant on all browsers, and enhances the experience for more capable environments. Here's how you can apply it to improve INP:

Use of Semantic HTML

Start with using clean, semantic HTML that ensures content is accessible even if advanced features are not available. This baseline makes sure that core functionalities are preserved across all devices.

Layered Assets Optimization

Enhance the user experience by progressively loading assets:

Progressive Enhancement Examples

Enable enhanced features as browser capabilities improve:

Graceful Degradation

Graceful Degradation ensures that, when certain features don't work, the user interface gracefully "degrades" to provide a functional experience. This helps maintain a reasonable INP under less than ideal conditions.

Fallback Mechanisms

Implement fallback mechanisms for critical features to keep the site operational:

  • CSS Fallbacks: Use multiple CSS declarations to support older browsers, for instance, using standard CSS properties before leveraging CSS Grid or Flexbox [One Line Layouts, 2023].
  • JavaScript Polyfills: Include polyfills for essential JavaScript features that might not be supported on all browsers [, 2023].

Performance Budgets

Set performance budgets to maintain a balance between feature richness and performance:

  • Limit Script Sizes: Define a size budget for JavaScript bundles to avoid heavy scripts impacting INP negatively [Performance Budgets, 2023].
  • Monitor Resource Utilization: Use performance monitoring tools to track usage and load times for resources [PageSpeed Insights, 2022].

Graceful Degradation Examples

Ensure your site degrades gracefully to maintain usability:

  • Responsive Images: Use the <source> element to serve different image sizes based on viewport, falling back to a default image if necessary [Serve Responsive Images, 2023].
  • Responsive Design: Use media queries to provide a usable interface on all screen sizes, ensuring key interactions remain performant [Responsive Web Design Basics, 2022].

Combined Strategy Implementation

A combined approach that leverages both progressive enhancement and graceful degradation can maximize responsiveness and reliability:

Adaptive Loading

Adjust the amount of content loaded based on network conditions and device performance:

  • Network Information API: Detect user's network conditions to adjust resource loading accordingly [Adaptive Loading, 2022].
  • Resource Hints: Use resource hints like <link rel="prefetch"> or <link rel="preconnect"> to optimize resource fetching [Resource Hints, 2022].

Incremental Loading

Load essential content first, progressively enhancing with additional data as needed:

  • Lazy Loading: Use lazy loading for images and other media resources to prioritize visible content [Native Lazy Loading, 2020].
  • Skeleton Screens: Provide skeleton screens for a better perceived performance, showing users immediate visual feedback while the content loads [Why Skeleton Screens Work, 2019].


Employing progressive enhancement and graceful degradation effectively enhances INP by ensuring smooth and responsive interaction across various devices and network conditions. By adopting these strategies, you can deliver a better user experience, ensuring that your website remains usable and performant for all users.