TLDR: Are there people who have worked on "ageing of pages" which will be replaced/removed in X months. Is there existing research on this topic we can use, or known issues we should learn from.

Full: We are working on making significant changes on our internal products, we're introducing new flows to replace existing flows that have existed over a decade. We are planning to sunset the existing flows in the next 24 months or so.

We have worked on the standard communication and process to smoothen the transition for our users, and made a small roadmap in how to phase out our existing stack.

Because our users appreciate some light hearted fun; we are thinking of degrading the pages that support the existing flow over time. We are looking for some patterns or metaphors we could use. Ideally we show the degradation of the pages without affecting the functionality. There will be some functionality changes, but those are tied to the sunsetting of sub flows.

We are asking if anybody already has done anything like this. Or if people know if there is research on the concept of "visualising the ageing process of digital content". There might be some caveats we can should prevent.

With our designers we already though of some simple analogies like "spider webbing on the headers" or small cracks in the design, introducing some staining/rust here and there, and increase that over time.

We realise that this might not meet the standards of typical professional design questions asked here. At the same time we thought it was an interesting enough concept to think about, as we haven't seen much discussion about the ageing of digital content in general.

Thanks a lot for your time.

1 Answer 1


One thing to beware of is usability/legibility - if these pages are being kept up for reference your users still need to be able to read them.

That suggests you can't just go for a simple fading out (in another context I display older data as paler grey). Many other ways of visual degradation (graphic effects on top of the content, like blurring/smudging) would have similar usability implications, and could also lead to quite hefty download/processing if you start to patchily and progressively degrade elements. The background may be a better place to start, though a simple background image looking like faded paper could feel a bit 90s pirate-themed GeoCities.

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    I once has a job applicant who, as a demonstration of their user-centred thinking, sent in a prototype of an email client where the names and details of your contacts faded and disappeared over time if you did not email them. I did not call them in for an interview. Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 10:33

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