Port 80 talk

Well by now I would have graced the podium at the Port 80 conference, Newport to break my web conference duck, delivering a paper covering my thoughts on progressive enhancement in 2012.

Hopefully it went well but I just want to extend a massive warm thanks to Joel Hughes for organising the event in such a short period of time (4 months from conception to execution!) and for his hospitality in sunny Wales.

When I get round to flicking the switch slides from my talk will be below or available to view on Speakerdeck

I have also tried to compile a reading list of material referenced in the talk on readlists.

The font used in the slides is the lovely, versatile Edmondsans from the Lost Type Co-op and the icons used throughout are the bargainous, lush Geomicons Wired


I thought it was a fantastic presentation, it was great to hear from someone else passionate about this, thanks a lot.

I really enjoyed your talk. It made me think about how it’s valuable to stop and evaluate why and how we are doing things. Especially when things in this industry are moving so fast currently.

Fab talk Cole. Great to hear you make the case for progressive enhancement, and very useful to hear it put in an historical context.

I had loads of points I wanted to make, and questions to ask – but didn’t know where to start, so didn’t – doh! The main observation echoes what I read in Andy Clarke’s book, Hardboiled web design. If you’re constantly designing for the lowest common denominator, then how will your content ever excel? I think the real world answer probably has something to do with choosing an appropriate common denominator for the case in hand.

I think my frustration comes from working for years, creating applications for the public sector and suffering the curse of the shit browser.

Anyhoo, great presentation. Very thought provoking. Thanks.

Many thanks for throwing your hat into the ring to speak mate. And many thanks for delivering a top class talk (you crazy nerf herder ;)


Thanks all for the great feedback. I really enjoyed the day and the opportunity to stand up and pitch my thoughts at a room full of like-minded individuals.

Darren – my argument was really that if you’re starting with clean HTML then that is your common demoninator. A nice, semantic HTML document will be served to any browser, with or without JS or CSS. So my first argument would be – echoing Relly’s talk before mine – that your content should excel before you consider your design (tough in the public sector, I know).

I’m a big fan of Andy’s and I think his proposal (in Hardboiled) of ‘Aggressive Enhancement’ is absolutely fine when you consider the use of CSS3. As I mentioned in my talk, CSS is pretty fault tolerant so the style of your site will degrade just fine if new styles are not supported (looking at you IE). My main argument is when your designs become overly dependent on Boilerplates and jQuery plug-ins things don’t degrade so well. That is not to say you should stop using them – just be more careful about how and why you choose to use them.