Progressive Enhancement

What in the world is Progressive Enhancement (PE)?

 

PE is the web design journey stemming from simplicity to complexity. Laying down a firm foundation for your website and adding finishing touches that add to the user experience tremendously.

 

I first read Smashing Magazine’s article over Progressive Enhancement (which I keep typing ‘Enchantment’, because i suppose i’m so excited about it) and here’s what I think about it:

 

I’m all for it. If you are working on a website that needs to be cranked out ASAP, it’s vital to have the bare necessities in place before adding onto it. And that’s what PE, is. Going from bare HTML, to adding CSS, and then adding JavaScript.

 

The irony in creating a “stable” website using the PE method, is that it decreases the accessibility of blind and disabled users visiting your website. You should keep this in mind when taking a look at your website’s demographic, and choosing what’s right for your users.

 

Next I read Hesketh’s article, “Progressive Enhancement and the Future of Web Design”

 

This stressed the importance of creating style sheets for certain browsers that may not support CSS features, and since it was 2003 when the article was written, the same can be applied with CSS3 nowadays.

 

You must consider the browser that your visitors are using to access your website, and tailor accordingly if you want to reach the widest audience possible. This also includes a print.css sheet, for users who want to print your awesome website on paper.

 

Yes, it’s a pain to make a million CSS sheets, and it maybe increase the loading time a bit. But if you are working on a large-scale website that is being accessed by users from all kinds of browsers, Progressive Enhancement seems like a no-brainer.

 

Over and out,

Morgan

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