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Stumbling on the escalator - why progressive enhancement is sometimes hard to explain but makes total sense.
Thursday, February 16th, 2012 at 3:43 pm. I am always amazed about the lack of support for progressive enhancement on the web. Whenever you mention it, you face a lot of “yeah, but…” and you feel havi...
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DJ Sipe
"Whenever you mention it, you face a lot of “yeah, but…” and you feel having to defend something that should be ingrained in the DNA of anyone who works on the web."

I find this true about more than just Progressive Enhancement. You'd think you'd just told them they really should diet and exercise.

(Dig the metaphor BTW)
Love that joke, Hedberg is an all-time favorite of mine. And indeed, the perfect analogy for progressive enhancement.
Sometimes the feature that brought the user to you in the first place isn't that they can accomplish a particular task online, but that can accomplish it far faster and more enjoyably. Hotmail preceded Gmail by a good while, but didn't have nearly the same uptake. There were certainly web calendars before Google's, but they didn't feel nearly so nice. I don't mean to shill for my employer entirely, but software intended to compete with or replace traditional desktop applications can't be shackled to downlevel browsers any more than the latest versions of Microsoft Office can be expected to run on a 486 PC with 16mb of RAM (once a fairly powerful option).

There are certainly applications where interactivity in the front end is minimal enough that a 1996-style UI is sufficient, but I wouldn't look there for innovation. It's more like ambling along the road in a horse-drawn carriage while your competitors accelerate past in Teslas.
The idea to compare the functionality of an escalator with that of a web applications (or page in general) is one of the most refreshing thoughts I've read over the last couple of weeks.

When it comes down to functionality, a web application should also still be usable, even if parts of the system stop working. I love that.
Oh, the irony! Commenting an article about progressive enhancement on a platform that actively locks out older browsers like FF3.5...

However, I think the analogy is one of the better. Let's see, if I can bring it up in the next client conversations. Thanks for the article!
This is a great analogy, though I see London tube escalators closed all the time!
Andrew that is because there is no wireless or mobile connectivity. duh!
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