Progressive Enhancement: Basics, Benefits and Web Design Tips | Hacker Noon

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The advancement in technology has given rise to a variety of browsing platforms. It is imperative to ensure proper support to the website for fitting in the browsers. Due to this, progressive enhancement is getting higher popularity among web designers and developers to provide a wide range of browsers accessibility.

There is no denying that the need for cross-platform support is increasing with every passing day. It is because of the ever-growing innovation in tech-gadgets. For this very reason, every good website must have the elements of accessibility, responsiveness, and resize-ability to assist all screen-readers without any discrimination.

The article highlights the basic conceptualization of progressive enhancement and its major benefits and essential ways to improve website design for different browsing situations!

What Is Progressive Enhancement?

Progressive Enhancement (PE) is referred to as an innovative and robust methodology for creating web applications. According to the formal conceptualization:

Progressive enhancement is a powerful strategy to design and develop websites that revolve around the core content of web pages first before setting foot to the additional elements.

Put simply, website designing focus on the core functionality of the design and development process and then ensure gold plating by adding technical layers and sophisticated features progressively. Most of the people rely on experienced web designers to propose a progressive strategy for web enhancement to enables the users to access websites smoothly. It allows the end-users to get a fantastic browsing experience.

Basic Principles of Progressive Enhancement

Nevertheless, the ultimate goal of every website owner is to ensure a smooth user experience while accessing the website over diverse browsers. It is essential to ensure stability using cross-compatibility. The basic principle of PE focuses on the separation of fundamental website elements, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

In this regard, HTML is the first layer, which ensures the core content. CSS is the second layer for additional functionality, and lastly, JavaScript is the third layer, which ensures dynamics in client-side programming.

The compartmentalization of the mentioned components enables the websites to enhance as per the capabilities of website browsers. Besides the technicality, the three layers carry some logic, which is as defined under:


Hyper-Text Markup Language (HTML) was invented to fulfill the need for a universal standard for internet-based documents. It is considered the fundamental mechanism of content-structuring for the web pages.

The advancement in technology has helped in introducing HTML5, enabling the website designers to access interoperable markup for unprecedented semantic, which is a more robust version of traditional HTML.


There is no denying that visuals enhance the website design. Owing to this reason, cascading style sheets (CSS) improves the message by improving content and images. It is basically a language used to define the presentation of a web page written in HTML.

CSS3 coupled with HTML5 that has given freedom of expression to the front-end developers and website designers. It is owing to the fact that you can create visuals and translate it into the design medium for improved browser accessibility.


Initially, the web pages were statics written using the HTML plus CSS, but then people felt the need for dynamic content. It triggered the realization of behavior-generation via web pages. Keeping this into consideration, JavaScript arrived in 1996.

The use of scripts is to manipulate web documents for input validation, dynamic content generation, and visual designing. JavaScript adds interactivity and complexity to the HTML documents. It is the fundamental part of pop-up windows, right-click restrictions, and the creation of user-centered website design.

Although it is difficult to develop dynamic websites without using JavaScript, the accessibility guidelines of WAI-ARIA set the rules for designers to come up with unique ideas. It has increased the use of JQuery and other such tools for dynamic web design.

Benefits of progressive enhancement

There is no denying that the need for robustness has triggered innovation in every walk of life. It is evident from the fact that from static pages to the dynamic application, the industry of web design has evolved considerably.

Plus, the addition of progressive enhancement has improved the scenario significantly. Let’s consider the advantages of applying layers in the website designing:

Enhanced browser compatibility

First thing first, the website is designed using layers, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, work on all browsers without any dependency. In this regard, the principles of PE have considerably helped in improving the transferability of the web pages through browser compatibility.

Higher accessibility

It is imperative to understand that not every individual is equal in abilities and capabilities. Owing to this, a few people may face trouble in reading the content from a website. However, progressive enhancement has resolved the issues considerably. It enables the visually impaired individuals to enhance the text for better readability, which leads to increased user engagement.

Highest performance

There is no compromise on the overall performance of a website. It is because the success of every business depends on a fully-functional website in this world of rapid technological advancement. So, businesspeople usually acquire website maintenance services for boosting the performance of their website. In this regard, progressive enhancement tools and techniques help the experts to ensure optimal browser loading and proper functioning.

Top tips for ensuring progressive enhancement in web design

The separation of design elements has a significant positive impact on the overall performance of the websites. It is because the websites should focus on core functional abilities along with cross-browser compatibility.

Do you want to ensure the effective utilization of PE into your websites? Consider the tips and tricks to pay greater attention to progressive enhancement for foolproof user experience!

Focus on the core functionality

Websites help users get their required information. Therefore, the first intention of the web developers should be to ensure fully-functional websites. For this, make a comprehensive strategy to gather user requirements and then transform the requirements into functionality to ensure higher website performance.

Use semantic HTML markup for website content

The tags in semantic HTML markup convey proper content meaning and structure as per the standards. Therefore, it is imperative to use semantic HTML with the new list of elements including <footer>, <aside>, <article>, and <nav> as a replacement of <span> and <div>. There is much more for the designer’s plate when it comes to HTML5.

Use CSS 3 for visual presentation styling

Visuals add value to the websites. Therefore, it is essential to incorporate impressive visual design using CSS and other tools used for visual presentation. The designers must pay greater attention to create web pages using the advanced version of CSS, which is CSS3. It will help in designing color, layouts, and types of independence of the other website structures.

Use scripts for ensuring complex behaviors

Scripting languages add complexity to the design. It helps in beneficial processing and robust features. So, the website designing experts should consider using suitable language such as jQuery or JavaScript for functional improvements. The enriched designing elements must consider progression for a modular approach towards website design.

Progressive enhancement is everything in modern web design!

Summing up, progressive enhancement may be new for a few people, but professionals are using it for many years. If you just got an idea of how useful PE can be for your business or personal website, get help from experts. It will help you in the process of website creation and redesign using the essential principles of progressive enhancement.

Remember, your website is the gateway to the world. Don’t let this stuck into the complications of cross-platform compatibility and outdated functionality. Get your website improved with PE basics today!


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