Making best use of space and content
Delivering content and functionality over the web needs to anticipate users having a wide range of devices, with a variety of screen‐sizes, orientations and pixel densities. Two concepts can assist the development process to concentrate efforts in this regard.
Responding to content priority
Progressive and Graceful
Progressive Enhancement (PE) is the process of designing/developing software (including web applications and web content) from a minimal acceptable offering (MAO) starting point and building up through a series of embellishments. The enhancements progress to produce the best possible offering that will require the greatest level of support by the system (device). This is comparable but not entirely analogous to building on the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) as that relates more to the range of functionality an application provides an end‐user community.
Almost counter to PE is the concept of Graceful Degradation (GD), which commences from the point of the MAO but attempts to accommodate users that are unable to interact with the system even at this reduced level of functionality. The GD approach attempts to replace features with simpler/fall‐back alternatives in order to deliver the best possible range of features for all users.
Other, side-, effects of adopting PE include:
- Cross-browser testing can be simplified because the MAO is less likely to engage advanced features that browsers have yet to support.
- Accessibility testing can be simplified and it can be easier to demonstrate (WGAC) conformance as the MAO should deliver all the required content on more restrictive browsers (such as screen readers).