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Blumilk Developer Blog | Understanding Progressive Enhancement
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When it comes to designing and developing a website at Blumilk we take progressive enhance very seriously and bake it into the core of all of our websites, web applications and many other digital endeavours. With a vast array of devices on the market, as well as getting released on a yearly basis, making the content accessible as possible to all users is a must.

What is Progressive Enhancement?

Progressive enhancement is simply a way of developing websites and applications that will work using only HTML as its building block.

The reasoning behind this is because the HTML is the only part of the website or application that we can truly rely on. Everything else should be considered as being optional extras because if the HTML fails then everything else will.

Adding in the Optional Extras

As mentioned, when we begin the work of a website or web application we consider everything apart from the HTML as an optional extra.

Things that are considered to be optional extras include:

  • Styling (CSS)
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Audio
  • JavaScript
  • Form validation

What about JavaScript?

JavaScript can add a great deal of usability and functionality to help and enhance a users experience of your website or web application, it’s important to remember that not all devices will have it enabled. So JavaScript fallbacks become a must. This means no calling of data to the frontend that can’t be loaded with just HTML alone. Sorry AJAX.

Although many users may have disabled JavaScript, along with other of our optional extras, there are a number of reasons why these may not be working:

  • Network errors with either our own servers or the users internal ones
  • Firewalls and antivirus software
  • Ad blockers that may block certain names
  • Overload that may give timeout errors
  • DNS lookup failures

Again, many users may disable these optional extras and if they have then we most respect this choice and get the product working functionally for them, too.

Conclusion

So why is all of this so important us? To put it simply, we feel good. We feel good that we’re offering the exact same experience to a user who may not have the latest version of a particular computer or mobile device due to their organisational produces or even just from a different socioeconomic background, which we can all take for granted at times.

First published: January 14, 2019

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