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Web Design Fundamentals is a survey of Web design and development techniques and technologies, fundamental concepts, terms, and best practices involved in professional web design. Instructor James Williamson examines popular web development tools, server-side software solutions, content management solutions, and cloud-based software, providing a high-level overview of the world of Web publishing.
Throughout this title I've emphasized the importance of focusing on content, writing clean, well-structured code and making sure that enhancement focused technology, such as Flash and Ajax, provide alternative content to devices that don't support them. Now that strategies actually refer to as progressive enhancement and in this movie, I want to define the strategy a little bit more clearly and encourage you to adopt it as a primary focus of your design and development process. As the Web has evolved over the years, browsers have come and gone. New technologies have emerged to enhance the user experience and a multitude of devices have gained the ability to connect to your online content.
As you can imagine, that amount of change over a relatively short period of time has made the web a volatile place for web designers. Sites designed for specific browsers would often fail or degrade poorly in older browsers or even not work at all depending upon the device. Now, this frustrating design experience and the continually changing nature of the Web led designers and browser developers to push for stricter web standards and to create strategy for making content as accessible as possible. At first, designers went with a strategy called graceful degradation.
Graceful degradation is the practice of designing for the most current browsers' capabilities but ensuring that the site will have the best experience possible for older browsers by using filters or hacks to deal with their inconsistencies in support. While this approach does embrace the model of separating style from structure and content, it doesn't adequately deal with the ever-changing number of additional user agents that are consuming content and it is focused too heavily on specific browser differences. Progressive enhancement, on the other hand, turns the focus away from the browser and puts it squarely back on the content itself.
I highly recommend this approach to you. Although every website is a unique project and reality often calls us to take a less than perfect approach to our sites, working this way naturally create sites that are widely accessible, have a high degree of search engine optimization, and offer the best distribution of content across multiple devices.
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