Adaptive Web Design (Book Review)

Adaptive Web Design by Aaron Gustafson

Just the other day I was reading a post on mobile-first responsive web design by Brad Frost (a great read by the way, go check it out) and found it very good. In fact I found it so good that I decided to buy Aaron Gustafsons book, ‘Adaptive Web Design: Crafting Rich Experiences with Progressive Enhancement‘ which the author had recommended.

I chose to get the paperback+eBook bundle and I finished it in two evenings. This doesn’t mean that the book is a light read, it just says something about how well Aaron manages to get his thoughts on paper.

Adaptive Web Design

If you’ve worked with web design for more than a short while you have most likely heard the term progressive enhancement, but how well do you know it, and how much does it influence your work?

Aaron  has suceded in explaining the reason for using progressive enhancement, the basics of the various techniques, breaking it down chapter by chapter and also ending it with a checklist for all your progressive enhancement needs. All in a book that not only covers the theory (or philosophy if you so will) behind it but which also contains plenty of practical examples of how, and more importantly why, to implement the techniques.

Adaptive Web Design consists of six chapters where progressive enhancement with markup (HTML), CSS, JavaScript and Accessibility takes up one chapter each. The first chapter talks about the what, why and how of progressive enhancement and the last gives us the checklist and information about the book, author etc.

The book itself is a perfect metaphor for progressive enhancement in the way it’s laid out, adding more and more advanced features and styles to it and where you, at the end, are ready to boost a wide knowledge on the topic. Sure, you can stop reading after two chapters and still be a better designer/developer than you where when you started but why would you? You’re not the equivalent of a low-tech ancient browser that don’t support the latest features, are you?

I can only wish more, a lot more, web designers and developers get their hands on Adaptive Web Design because I consider it a must have tool in any serious designers/developers toolbox. The more people read it, the less sites breaking when the user has JavaScript turned off and the less non-semantic markup and more accessible content will we see.

In short, this book will help us make a better, more future proof and more accessible web.

Adaptive Web Design
Author: Aaron Gustafson
ISBN-13: 978-0-9835895-0-1