Nicolas Zakas Progressive Enhancement 2.0 #edTech #Tech

A webpage doesn’t have to look the same in every browser. In fact, a webpage shouldn’t look the same in every browser, according to former Yahoo developer and JavaScript guru, Nicolas Zakas.

Zakas, who spent five years as the front-end tech lead for the Yahoo homepage, recently spoke at the March BayJax Meetup group about what he calls Progressive Enhancement 2.0 — offering users the best possible experience given the capabilities of their device. Not the same experience, but the best possible experience. That means progressively enhancing sites according to the device’s (browser’s) capabilities.

Zakas also takes on the common assumption that a web “page” is analogous to the printed page. In fact Zakas argues the web is more like television, which has a similar separation of content and device. In that analogy old browsers are like black and white TVs. No one expects a black and white TV to play HD content, but everyone would be disappointed if you served black and white content to an HD TV. Hence the need for progressive enhancement.

In the beginning, progressive enhancement was simple: HTML layered with CSS layered with JavaScript. That worked fine when there were two browsers, but in today’s world of multiple devices and multiple browsers, it’s time for a progressive enhancement reboot. At the core is the understanding that the web is not print – the same rules don’t apply. As developers and consumers we’ve been fooled into thinking about print paradigms for too long. In this talk, you’ll learn just how different the web is and how the evolution of progressive enhancement can lead to better user experiences as well as happier developers and users.

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About benvitalis

math grad - Interest: Number theory
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