Monday, September 5, 2011

Re: The grey areas of progressive enhancement

Going through some articles about progressive enhancement and found this one - The grey areas of progressive enhancement.

Well, not everything has to follow the progressive enhancement rules, let's keep it flexible.  If it is something critical for a business or corporate, you don't want that to lose the design.  And I believe it is the spirit of progressive enhancement as well, keep critical elements the same in all platform and let's those non-critical to be enhanced progressively.  

Here are something I can think of at this moment about progressive enhancement:-

  • Normal user won't look at your site using 2 or more browsers at the same time, so their user experience should basically be the same. But of course, those corporate identity design has to be kept as they are critical.
  • The cost of making everything the same in all browsers could be huge. And if it is not critical, why not just save those resources for something else?
  • You are punishing those users who are using older browser if we needs everything to be the same.  Because in order to achieve everything the same, client user may need to download extra images, extra js libraries.  

I came from the background of both "everything has to be the same" and "let's make it progressive enhance / gracefully degrade".  And each one has its good and bad, nothing is perfect honestly.

But for "making everything the same" method, here is my experience as a developer - You will learn the most out from it, but it could be a pain of the butt process.  Honestly if I have time and budget, I would do that, since it is fun. And a lot of famous libraries are coming out because some old browsers do not support certain features (maybe you could be the next one).  And again, if you have time and budget, just go for it :)

Ok, at the end, let me suggest you a graph and help you to decide when you should use "progressive enchantment" or not :)

The rule is "choose 2 and dump 1" :-
  • If an element has to be the same, and you have limited budget, you need to give a lot of time to it
  • If an element has to be the same, and you have short turn around time, you need to prepare a bigger budget ( hire more contractors, giving OT ... etc )
  • If you have both time and budget limit, think about if an element has to be the same or not. If it is not critical, then why bother?

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