RWD Element - Bind Topic

Mobile first, unobtrusive JavaScript, and progressive enhancement

are related concepts that predate RWD.

[15] Browsers of basic mobile phones do not understand JavaScript or media queries, so a recommended practice is to create a basic web site and enhance it for smart phones and PCs, rather than rely on graceful degradation to make a complex, image-heavy site work on mobile phones.

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Challenges, and other approaches

Luke Wroblewski has summarized some of the RWD and mobile design challenges, and created a catalog of multi-device layout patterns.

He suggests that, compared with a simple RWD approach, device experience or RESS (responsive web design with server-side components) approaches can provide a user experience that is better optimized for mobile devices. Server-side "dynamic CSS" implementation of stylesheet languages like Sass or Incentivated's MML can be part of such an approach by accessing a server based API which handles the device (typically mobile handset) differences in conjunction with a device capabilities database in order to improve usability.[29] RESS is more expensive to develop, requiring more than just client-side logic, and so tends to be reserved for organizations with larger budgets. Google recommends responsive design for smartphone websites over other approaches.[30]

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Core principles

Progressive Enhancement consists of the following core principles:

basic content should be accessible to all web browsers
basic functionality should be accessible to all web browsers
sparse, semantic markup contains all content
enhanced layout is provided by externally linked CSS
enhanced behavior is provided by unobtrusive, externally linked JavaScript
end-user web browser preferences are respected.

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