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Jeremy Keith on building with progressive enhancement

In this video, designer, conference organiser and co-founder of Brighton-based agency Clearleft (opens in new tab) Jeremy Keith asserts that simplicity can take website makers a long way.

"I get worried when I see very complex things getting built, things that are reliant of JavaScript. While its true that very few people are going to turn off JavaScript, the JavaScript can still fail. That can be okay if you're building in the right way. It will fall back to what's underneath the JavaScript."

Progressive enhancement is a methodology where creating a rock-solid foundation is paramount. This foundation should provide critical information and experiences to users with older devices and old browsers. The site then tests the capabilities of the user's device and improves the website's look and feel accordingly.

I get worried when I see very complex things getting built, things that are reliant of JavaScript

Keith says: "Progressive enhancement seems like a tired old idea. Something that people were talking about five or ten years ago." Despite the ideas age, Keith asserts that progressive enhancement is still as relevant today as it ever was. "It's not a technique, it's not a technology. It's a way of viewing how you build, it's an engineering approach.”

You can hear more about Keith's views on progressive enhancement and other topics like decentralisation and web components by watching the full interview. If you’d like to hear more, then you’ll be please to hear that Keith will speaking at our upcoming conference, Generate London (opens in new tab) on 26 September 2014.

Keith also appears in the August issue of net magazine - on sale now (opens in new tab)!

Words: Martin Cooper

Martin Cooper is the deputy editor of net magazine.

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