De Voorhoede

front-end developers

A trip to London for the first conference dedicated to progressive enhancement

Our takeaways from Enhance Conf 2016

As front-end developers, we have a great focus on performance, accessibility and getting the best experience for end users. A large part of this is progressive enhancement. No wonder that when we heard about EnhanceConf, we immediately booked a flight to London.

EnhanceConf speakers on stage
Photo by Paul Downey

EnhanceConf is a one day conference taking place in the RSA House in the center of London. The day was divided in four blocks of talks. Each block of three 20 minutes talks - followed by a Q&A - provided a lot of inspiring information.

The takeaways

The day was kicked off by Nat Buckley, reminding us of how complicated building for the web can be. The points Nat discussed recurred in more detail throughout the day: when building for the web, we should...

...think about the various ways our web apps can be used

Anna Debenham gave us a detailed overview of the many game consoles people are using to access the web. Anna's talk made clear that smartphone, tablet and desktop are not the only devices we should account for. The talks of Aaron Gustafson and Robin Christopherson pointed out the importance of voice. Paying attention to how our interface is read will improve accessibility. It will also prepare us for the future, when users will become more reliant on voice-based interactions with technologies like Siri and Google Now.

...consider performance

Forbes Lindesay and Oliver Joseph Ash showed us some performance strategies for improving user experience. Forbes talked about how to do this by sharing code for rendering on the server and the client using React. Oliver walked us through the process of how they created an offline experience for the Guardian. We can show our users content even when they are offline using Service Worker.

...embrace the browser

Stefan Tilkov gave us a high-level view of architectures for building for the web. Stefan encouraged us to embrace the web’s architectural style and its constraints. This point of view was supported by Adam Silver’s talk 'Embracing Simplicity'. Adam talked about the great results we can get with just the core experience, without jumping to the enhancement.

We had an inspiring day at EnhanceConf and are looking forward to put the ideas and strategies into practice. Videos of the talks are available on YouTube.