What is Progressive Enhancement?

Progressive Enhancement is an important principle in Web design, it encourages web designers and developers to make the most out of the latest features currently available in the many modern browsers, whilst at the same time ensuring that older browsers are not left abandoned.

Users visiting a site in most recent of browsers will be rewarded with snazzy effects, extra functionality and styling whereas older browsers will still display a functional site with the advanced functionality and enhancements turned off.

What is Graceful Degradation?

Graceful Degradation is Progressive Enhancement in reverse. Graceful Degradation is as much about allowing a website look good in older browsers, as it is making them look great in modern ones!

The above principles can be applied to almost every element in web design and development, whether it be html, css or JavaScript.

Probably the most current examples come from the introduction and uptake of CSS3 within modern website designs. With CSS3 comes a myriad of useful features and tools to progressively (and easily) enhance web pages for the majority of visitors, such as;

  • Background Gradients
  • Transparency and Opacity
  • Text Shadows
  • Box/Element Shadows
  • Transitions
  • Rounded corners

Whereas many of these effects can be achieved without the use of CSS3 properties, it is often very fiddly to implement and varies greatly between every browser.

CSS3 support is now available in all modern browsers (except Internet Explorer), so upgrade now and discover what you could be missing out on!!