Scott writes an absolutely spot-on skewering of the idea that progressive enhancement means you’re going to spend your time catering to older browsers. The opposite is true.
Progressive Enhancement frees us to focus on the costs of building features for modern browsers, without worrying much about leaving anyone out. With a strongly qualified codebase, older browser support comes nearly for free.
The importance of long-term thinking in web design. I love this description of the web:
a truly fluid, chaotic design medium serving millions of imperfect clients
A nice look at responsive design, progressive enhancement, and the principle of One Web.
Like Drew, I’ve noticed some real hostility to the idea of progressive enhancement recently. Like Drew, I don’t really understand where this attitude comes from. It’s not like progressive enhancement prevents you from doing anything you would do otherwise: it’s just another way of approaching the way you build for the web.
I hope I’m wrong, but I suspect that some developers are letting their tools dictate their principles—the tail wagging the dog (where the tail is Angular, Ember, etc.).
Another good ol’ rant from Tom. It’s a bit extreme but the underlying lamentation with the abandonment of progressive enhancement is well founded.
Some excellent practical advice on progressive enhancement.
I really like Scott’s approach to defining what “support” means in terms of browsers—it makes a lot sense to break things down to the component level.
A love letter to HTML, prompted by the line-mode browser hack event at CERN.
A cogent definition and spirited defence of progressive enhancement:
Progressive Enhancement is an extension of our shared values on the web and goes to the root of the web. I believe—and hope you agree—that the web is for everybody and should be accessible regardless of the device a user brings to the party.
Go, Dan, go!
‘Sfunny, I was talking about just this kind of thing at An Event Apart today.
Jason pulls together some of the themes that emerged at An Event Apart DC this week.
Yet another timely reminder from Tim, prompted by the naysayers commenting on his previous excellent post on progressive enhancement, universal access, and the nature of the web.
This a great proposal: well-researched and explained, it tackles the tricky subject of balancing security and access to native APIs.
Far too many ideas around installable websites focus on imitating native behaviour in a cargo-cult kind of way, whereas this acknowledges addressability (with URLs) as a killer feature of the web …a beautiful baby that we definitely don’t want to throw out with the bathwater.
There’s something fundamental and robust about being able to request a URL and get back at least an HTML representation of the resource: human-readable, accessible, fault tolerant.
A terrific case study in progressive enhancement: starting with a good ol’ form that works for everybody and then adding on features like Ajax, SVG, the History API …the sky’s the limit.
A nice description of progressive enhancement by Norm, as applied at GDS.
Some good thinking from Jason here. In a roundabout way, he’s saying that when it comes to responsive images—as with just about every other aspect of web development—the answer is …it depends.
I think it’s a bit of a shame that Brett is canning his mobile-first device-detection library, but I totally understand (and agree with) his reasons.
There is a consensual hallucination in the market, that we can silo devices into set categories like mobile, tablet, and desktop, yet the reality is drawing these lines in the sand is not an easy task.
This off-canvas demo is a great practical example of progressive enhancement from David. It’s also a lesson in why over-reliance on jQuery can sometimes be problematic.
Now this is what I call tech reporting.
The women leave the stage, wet computer in hand, and a new man takes the stage. He plays a schmaltzy video where Portuguese children teach adults to use Windows 8 accompanied by a hyperloud xylophone soundtrack that slices through my hangover like cheesewire though lukewarm gouda.
A really nice explanation by Todd Kloots of Twitter’s use of progressive enhancement with Ajax and the HTML5 History API. There’s even a shout for Hijax in there.
I wholeheartedly agree with Christian’s diagnosis of the average web page: it’s overweight to the point of obesity. Fortunately Dr. Heilmann has some remedies.
Some great thoughts from Mike Davies about the strengths of the web, prompted by some of the more extreme comments made by James Pearce at Full Frontal last week.
I should point out that James was being deliberately provocative in order to foment thought and discussion and, judging from this blog post, he succeeded.
The Web’s independence from the hardware and software platform people use is a feature. It’s better than cross-platform frameworks which are constantly criticised for not producing exact native-feeling apps on the multitude of platforms they run on. The Web is above that pettiness.
You’ve probably seen this already, but it’s really worth bearing in mind: when you’re scaling up JPGs for retina display you can safely reduce the image quality by quite a lot—to the point of getting the exact same file size as a higher quality image that’s half the size.
This is the talk I gave at the Webdagene conference in Norway a few weeks back. I called it Responsive Enhancement but I think the Norwegian title translates as “Improvements Through Responsive Design.”
A lovely bit of hypertext.
This looks like a really handy tool for reducing the file size of JPEGs without any perceptible loss of quality (in much the same way that ImageOptim works for PNGs)—available as a Mac app or an installable web service.
Remember when I linked to the story of Twitter’s recent redesign of their mobile site and I said it would be great to see it progressively enhanced up to the desktop version? Well, here’s a case study that does just that.
Nicholas is inside my head! Get out of my head, Nicholas!
What makes the web beautiful is precisely that there are multiple browsers and, if you build things correctly, your sites and applications work in them all. They might not necessarily work exactly the same in them all, but they should still be able to work. There is absolutely nothing preventing you from using new features in your web applications, that’s what progressive enhancement is all about.
A really great markup and CSS pattern for “content first, navigation second” from Aaron.
A fascinating insight into the psychological implications of animated progress indicators.
A run-down of the various approaches to the responsive images problem, concluding that this is something that needs to be solved in the image format.
An idea for handling responsive images not with a new format, but with an existing one: progressive JPGs.
An in-depth analysis (graphs! data!) of how popular sites are using—or not using—compression.
A great talk by Nicholas on what progressive enhancement means today. There’s some good ammunition in here.
Yet another great post from Brad:
Whenever I think of the concept of “One Web” and providing universal access to information on the web, I tend to break it down into something much simpler: give people what they ask for.
A great post that discusses exactly what we mean when we talk about “supporting” different browsers.
Neal Stephenson speaks at Solve For X on the relative timidity of scientific (and science fictional) progress in our current time.
Luke outlines three different solutions to delivering a site to multiple devices.
A nice little bit of CSS for a page-loading animation. View source.
I loved this talk from Travis at New Adventures in Web Design, especially when he talked of the importance of Geocities and MySpace in democratising creative expression on the web.
We may have later bonded over that Ze Frank quote while in the toilet at the after-party …there may have even been hugs.
This is really handy: a bookmarklet that will disable any CSS3 on a page so you can check that your fallbacks look okay.
Yes! Yes! Yes!!!
Progressive enhancement is the only sane approach to today’s massively divergent landscape of devices. It can’t be repeated often enough.
Luke proposes a development approach that marries the best of responsive design with content negotiation. It makes a lot of sense. I like it.
I had a lovely conversation at the Update after-party with Georgie about the infographic dress she was wearing. It’s quite lovely.
I wholeheartedly agree with this summation of what professional web design and development entails.
Here’s an approach to responsive images in the Expression Engine CMS …but I fundamentally disagree with the UA-sniffing required.
I agree 100% with Mark’s thoughts on what a Content Management System should and shouldn’t attempt to do.
I think that markup is too important to be left in the hands of the people who make content management systems. They all too often don’t care enough about it, and they can never know the context that you will be using it in, and so in my opinion they shouldn’t be trying to guess.
This is a fascinating take on progressive enhancement from Luke: for a service-based site, the equivalent of Content First is API first …literally a command line interface as a baseline.
I’m rubbish at regular expressions so this little tool might just save my skin someday.
If you’d like to place your cup of tea on one of these lovely Fontdeck coasters, make sure you get a ticket for the Ampersand conference.
A great presentation by Andy on the use of progressive enhancement at Clearleft.
A well-written account of a disgraceful situation.
"We all go down together, horses looming above us, baton blows still coming down on our heads and shoulders. I am genuinely afraid that I might be about to die, and begin to thumb in my parents' mobile numbers on my phone to send them a message of love."
An excellent summation of the responsive enhancement approach to web development.
A perfect parody lampooning the shallow and cowardly reporting of most so-called science stories by the press (I'm looking at you, BBC).
Another Huffduffer-style sign-up form, this time from the good folks at Automattic. Very cute.
The most beautiful piece of letterpress art from Cameron thus far.
Foreheadslappingly stupid behaviour from the Associated Press.
A lovely set of letterpress printing
Please keep throwing up sites like this because no, I don't have anything better to do with my time than scroll and click through the entire archive.
A great article by Malarkey wherein he lists five examples of progressive enrichment (as Dan is wont to call it) complete with side-by-side comparisons. Useful ammo, this.
A cute little Mac app that exports your address book contacts in multiple formats ...including an HTML file with hCards!
An excellent rant by Jeff Atwood that explains just why the password anti-pattern is such an abhorrent practice: "How did we end up in a world where it's even remotely acceptable to ask for someone's email credentials?"
You can know use an API (with BBAuth) to get contact Yahoo account contact details. There really is no excuse now for still using the password anti-pattern.
Here's a fantastic collaboration with the Library of Congress. We are being asked to collectively tag historic pictures with no known copyright restrictions. Wonderful idea! Are you watching, British Library?
Yours to cut out and keep.
Chris mocks up an interface idea for Apple.
This is good news. You can expect Gravatar service to get faster and better.
Using photographs of actual headlines from the Evening Standard.
Slides based on a usability analysis of Wordpress by some of the Happy Coggers.
Pwn3d! "Undercover reporter Michelle Madigan (Associate Producer of NBC Dateline) got a little more than she bargained for when she tried to sneak in to DEFCON 2007 with hidden cameras to get someone to confess to a felony."
A really nice article by Jesse Bennett-Chamberlain detailing the process behind a site design.
Chris J. Davis has turned my life stream thingy into a plug-in for Wordpress. Nice!
Here's an API for accessing material that is censored in countries like China or Iran.You can use this API to republish that information on other sites, circumventing the censorship.
I think Seurat would have liked the fact that all these pictures are made up of pixels. Digital pointillism.
Want to indicate that something is happening on a web page, like... oh, I don't know... an Ajax request or something? Here's a cornucopia of animated progress indicators.
The Associated Press feels that blogs are good enough to steal from, but not good enough to credit.
This is exactly the kind of timely research I need before next week's Ajax workshop.
People enjoy being right, so continuing to use a website that gave a good first impression helps to 'prove' to themselves that they made a good initial decision.
The book that changed how websites are designed is back in a smart new second edition.