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Designing with Progressive Enhancement: Building the Web That Works for Everyone (Voices That Matter) [Paperback]

Todd Parker , Scott Jehl , Maggie Costello Wachs , Patty Toland

Price: £27.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

19 Feb 2010 0321658884 978-0321658883 1
Progressive enhancement is an approach to web development that aims to deliver the best possible experience to the widest possible audience, and simplifies coding and testing as well. Whether users are viewing your sites on an iPhone, the latest and greatest high-end system, or even hearing them on a screen-reader, their experience should be easy to understand and use, and as fully-featured and functional as possible.
 
Designing with Progressive Enhancement will show you how. It’s both a practical guide to understanding the principles and benefits of progressive enhancement, and a detailed exploration of examples that will teach you—whether you’re a designer or a developer—how, where, and when to implement the specific coding and scripting approaches that embody progressive enhancement.
 
In this book, you’ll learn:
  •  Why common coding approaches leave users behind, and how progressive enhancement is a more inclusive and accessible alternative
  •  How to analyze complex interface designs, see the underlying semantic HTML experience that will work everywhere, and layer on advanced enhancements safely
  •  A unique browser capabilities testing suite that helps deliver enhancements only to devices that can handle them
  • Real-world best practices for coding HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to work with progressive enhancement, and cases where forward-looking HTML5 and CSS3 techniques can be applied effectively today
  • How to factor in accessibility features like WAI-ARIA and keyboard support to ensure universal access
  •  Detailed techniques to transform semantic HTML into interactive components like sliders, tabs, tree controls, and charts, along with downloadable jQuery-based widgets to apply directly in your projects

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From the Back Cover

Progressive enhancement is an approach to web development that aims to deliver the best possible experience to the widest possible audience, and simplifies coding and testing as well. Whether users are viewing your sites on an iPhone, the latest and greatest high-end system, or even hearing them on a screen-reader, their experience should be easy to understand and use, and as fully-featured and functional as possible.
 
Designing with Progressive Enhancement will show you how. It’s both a practical guide to understanding the principles and benefits of progressive enhancement, and a detailed exploration of examples that will teach you—whether you’re a designer or a developer—how, where, and when to implement the specific coding and scripting approaches that embody progressive enhancement.
 
In this book, you’ll learn:
  •  Why common coding approaches leave users behind, and how progressive enhancement is a more inclusive and accessible alternative
  •  How to analyze complex interface designs, see the underlying semantic HTML experience that will work everywhere, and layer on advanced enhancements safely
  •  A unique browser capabilities testing suite that helps deliver enhancements only to devices that can handle them
  • Real-world best practices for coding HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to work with progressive enhancement, and cases where forward-looking HTML5 and CSS3 techniques can be applied effectively today
  • How to factor in accessibility features like WAI-ARIA and keyboard support to ensure universal access
  •  Detailed techniques to transform semantic HTML into interactive components like sliders, tabs, tree controls, and charts, along with downloadable jQuery-based widgets to apply directly in your projects

About the Author

Todd Parker has over a dozen years of experience creating highly functional, accessible and intuitive interfaces that make the most of the technical and interface constraints of a broad range of devices, from wireless phones and Palm devices, to touch screen tablets, kiosks and Web sites. Prior to founding Filament Group, Todd worked at ZEFER Corporation and CSC Consulting as a principal experience designer. Todd's work has been recognized by Communication Arts magazine for design excellence.

Scott Jehl is formally trained in graphic design, but his skills comfortably span both design and development. Prior to joining Filament Group, Scott worked for such clients as New England Journal of Medicine, Footjoy Golf, and Aspen Snowmass Resorts. In his spare time, Scott runs WriteMaps.com, an ajax Web application for building visual Web site sitemaps. He is also a member of the jQuery Design Team.

Patty Toland
is a founding partner at Filament Group, Inc.  Patty brings to Filament more than twenty years consulting experience with corporate and institutional clients, with a focus on communicating complex messages across a range of media.  Her expertise lies in developing robust information and communication strategies, including branding, constituent analysis, information architecture and system design, and writing. Prior to founding Filament Group, Patty worked at ZEFER Corp., US Peace Corps, Kohn Cruikshank Inc. and Harvard Business School.

Maggie Costello Wachs
is Filament Group's coding and production master — she ensures the quality of everything that goes out the door.  Maggie's brings deep expertise in front-end coding, with a particular focus on standards-compliant markup, CSS and scripting that works optimally with progressive enhancement. Prior to joining FIlament Group, Maggie worked at Monitor Group and ZEFER Corp.

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read and implement with caution 5 Jun 2010
By Sofia Celic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is easy to read and the fact that the website provides the examples and code is fabulous. The progressive enhancement approach should be used by everyone. However, make sure to test these implementations before integrating these solutions into your project. Most of the solutions rely on role="application" which is currently problematic for screen readers in particular. This role will hand over keyboard control to the application, leaving the screen reader user unable to use their standard web reading/interacting keyboard controls. This is a big problem for this user group unless you are also willing and able to implement an API. The solutions can also be problematic for low vision users who use their own color combination by changing settings in their browser and/or operating system. For example, visual cues indicating the presence of a drop-down component tend to go missing when the color settings are changed. I think there needs to be quite a bit more progress in regard to appropriate support by assistive technologies before some of these techniques should be used.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Write less, do more with Progressive Enhancement 11 April 2010
By K. Penn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I highly recommend this book to anyone, at any level of web design skills.
I'm new to jQuery, and wanted the best book to get up and running quickly with it. This book caught my eye when I saw that Filament Group had contributed Themeroller to jQuery UI. I was sold when I saw how cleanly the book's site displayed on my Droid.
Using the book, I was able to quickly convert an ancient website into a beautiful jQuery-driven site, that thrilled my clients.
I came to this book having learned graceful degradation from Jeremy Keith's DOM Scripting. Progressive Enhancement starts there, and takes design to a new level.
The book Designing with Progressive Enhancement combines an analysis philosophy with real-world examples and code samples, to produce well-stuctured pages that are ARIA compliant, and will display as well as possible in any browser.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changed my philosophy! 7 Sep 2010
By M. Levin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book really changed the way I think about things.

Many years ago, I was a front end developer and, like most front end developers of that era, I struggled with the idiosyncrasies of the various browsers, cursed under my breath when a page looked perfectly fine in one browser but terrible in another, and on more than one occasion said, "well, they can just upgrade their browser."

Eventually, I gave up and became a back end developer, favoring the exactness of my strongly typed languages and unit testing harnesses over the voodoo that front end development had become. I just couldn't put up with that mess anymore.

Fast forward a few years. I picked up this book and it really got me thinking. The business case for why we need progressive enhancement was clearly and persuasively put forth in the first chapter. It's startling just how many users those "marginal" cases really represent.

And then on to the fun stuff. The rest of the book guides the reader through the methodology (the "x-ray" perspective) and the building blocks for creating some pretty awesome user interfaces that still work on "old" browsers. And nothing breaks. This is what lured me back to the front end. Finally, there's a reliable, future-proof way of detecting what will work and a way of making the incredible widgets behave just like their simpler cousins (they serve as proxies to the underlying form elements) -- so your old forms still work and there's no wasted work supporting two or more versions of a page.

I don't suppose people typically refer to these kinds of books as "page turners," but I actually couldn't put it down on a few occasions. I just had to see how they were going to implement that next widget.

I currently work at a university. Building accessible websites is not optional for us. The knowledge I gained about accessibility alone is worth the price of the book. But there's a lot more in there as well.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for builders of web applications 21 Mar 2010
By Nora Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
While even someone working on relatively simple websites will benefit from reading this book, Designing with Progressive Enhancement is most useful for those developing application-like sites with rich user interaction. The authors present a rigorous, systematic approach to delivering highly functional sites to the broadest possible range of users - from mobile browsers to screen readers. Besides just offering their methodology, however, they also provide a number of concrete, practical techniques and downloadable, ready-to-use scripts.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The go to place for web designers who want their sites to work for everyone 24 Aug 2011
By M. S. Menzin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This book assumes an intermediate-level knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Progressive Enhancement means that your website will be usable and functional even for people without CSS or JavaScript (i.e. JS turned off) or using screen readers. The authors clearly explain their philosophical approach and how to apply it to many different situations. They also include code.
The authors are the core of the Filament Group, contribute to jQuery, and other sites, and are very well worth listening to.
I recommend this book highly.
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