What is Graceful Tech?

By Brian Wesolowski

When we talk about “grace,” we essentially mean “making others around you feel at ease.” So then, what is graceful technology? For us, graceful technology brings you ease, helps you bring ease to others, and doesn’t take control of your life. Let’s unpack that a bit.

  1. Brings you ease - Any technology that helps you live simpler, more efficiently, and more joyfully is graceful. This could be technology or an app that helps you manage your schedule, brings a smile to your face, or deepens your connection with loved ones.

  2. Helps you bring ease to others - At it’s best, technology can improve lives, whether it is bringing greater accessibility to high-quality information or helping people find a community where they feel at home. By extension, some examples of how graceful technology can help you bring ease to others include enabling you to speak a different language, making your website more accessible to people with disabilities, or empowering you to speak up against injustice.

  3. Doesn’t take control of your life - Here’s where a lot of technologies and apps fail us; instead of helping us live better, they start to control and change us. Whether it’s the smartphone that never leaves your side, the constant checking of a social media site for validation, or a nagging pain in your neck from leaning down to look at your laptop, graceless tech abounds.

As Sarah wrote in her post defining grace, our technologies and the internet are all a work in progress. That means we shouldn’t expect all technology to be graceful, and in fact, all of it doesn’t need to be; rather it’s something designers and developers of technology should aspire to achieve.

Also, as we think about digital grace, we should remember a major part of the equation is how technology is used. In no small part, it’s on us, the users, to create the norms and standards that will enable us to live more gracefully in this always-connected world.

We’d love for you to share with us your examples of technology, online sites and communities, or apps that fit into these categories. Are there other categories we should include while thinking about graceful tech? We value your insights!