Everyone has a definition for progressive enhancement these days, and many often misunderstand the concept. I like Scott Jehl’s thoughts on the principle:
When you look at it that way, progressive enhancement becomes synonymous with quality. Why wouldn’t you want to build sites and applications this way? In a way that gives people a quality experience no matter what.
It’s fantastic because it touches on all the parts of the Web that we know have nearly limitless potential, but that we haven’t yet figured out how to do well consistently. These are things like performance, accessibility, progressive enhancement, embracing a multi-device world and more. We have much to do, so it’s hard not to be excited about bringing the Web to a truly global audience.
Apple simply does not play well with other vendors when it comes to standardization. The same sort of things we once criticized Microsoft for doing long ago, we give Apple a pass on today. They’re very content to play in their own little sandbox all too often.
Today, the United States Access Board finally and officially proposed an update to Section 508. Section 508 is one of the big accessibility laws in the United States, and the update brings the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) into the rule, applying it to web-based content as well as to offline documents and software. This change has been in the works for awhile, and even though it’s not final yet, I’m excited to see it move forward.
Responsive design isn’t about mobile or desktop design. It’s about the Web. The first Web pages ever were responsive from the start: they adapted to various screen sizes. They are also accessible by default. We do things to semantic Web pages to make them un-responsive and un-accessible. Instead of talking about making Web pages accessible and responsive. We need to talk about keeping Web pages accessible and responsive.