UIEtips: Progressive Enhancement and the Content-out Approach

Jared Spool

November 20th, 2013

Today, there exists a sea of design considerations like browsers, accessibility, device compatibility, and responsive or adaptive design. And with new techniques and devices coming out daily, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, Aaron Gustafson knows how to wrangle all of these elements using progressive enhancement. With his practical approach, he designs for humans on any spectrum – with and without javascript enabled. In 2011, he published Adaptive Web Design: Crafting Rich Experiences with Progressive Enhancement.

In today’s UIEtips, we’re pleased to publish an excerpt from Aaron’s book which discusses how progressive enhancement can serve your users by giving them access to content without technological restrictions.

On November 21, Aaron will present our next virtual seminar, Designing Across Devices with Progressive Enhancement. If you’re trying to create a better web – and are open to rethinking how you approach designing for any interface, then you need to join us for Aaron’s seminar.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Fundamentally, progressive enhancement is about accessibility, but not in the limited sense the term is most often used. The term “accessibility” is traditionally used to denote making content available to individuals with “special needs” (people with limited motility, cognitive disabilities, or visual impairments); progressive enhancement takes this one step further by recognizing that we all have special needs. Our special needs may also change over time and within different contexts. When I load up a website on my phone, for example, I am visually limited by my screen resolution (especially if I am using a browser that encourages zooming) and I am limited in my ability to interact with buttons and links because I am browsing with my fingertips, which are far larger and less precise than a mouse cursor.

Read the article Progressive Enhancement and the Content-out Approach.

Do you use progressive enhancement in your designs? Tell us about it below.

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