Nolan Lawson wrote an interesting perspective on progressive enhancement the other week:
As Benedict Evans has noted, the next billion people who are poised to come online will be using the internet almost exclusively through smartphones. And if Google’s plans with Android One are any indication, then we have a fairly good idea of what kind of devices the “next billion” will be using:
- They’ll mostly be running Android.
- They’ll have decent specs (1GB RAM, quad-core processors).
- They’ll have an evergreen browser and WebView (Android 5+).
- What they won’t have, however, is a reliable internet connection.
His take on this issue really got me thinking about whether or not I’m clinging to now outdated notions of what it means to build a web that works for everyone. A few thoughts, most of them mentioned by others far more articulately than I’m about to in the comments of Nolan’s post or in rebuttal articles…
- I don’t think it’s fair to assume the next billion users will all be using state-of-the-art Android devices. Many current mobile-only users aren’t using such devices, and many Android users are left in the dark with outdated software on relatively new phones.
So ultimately, Nolan raises some really good points about what PE looks like going forward, but I don’t see it as mutually exclusive with how we’ve thought about progressive enhancement up to this point.
Go read the whole thing, and check out some of the rebuttals he links to as well as the comments.