Best Practices of Outdated Websites Progressive Enhancement
We all have things in our possession that we have grown fond of even though there are better versions available. Maybe it is an old pair of jeans, or a favorite kitchen appliance, or even an old TV or radio. Whatever it is, every time you look at it or use it, it fills you with a certain sense of familiarity that makes it worth a thousand of the new version of that item to you. But, just because you love it does not mean your friends or family do, right? The same can be said of websites.
Often, clients grow quite fond of a familiar website design, and it is hard to move away from it, even though it may be limiting a site’s functionality or search ranking. Those same clients are commonly concerned that existing customers will feel lost if they overhaul their website all at once. As a result, the best way to transition from an outdated design into something more modern may be through a process of progressive enhancement.
Through progressive enhancement, one can slowly change elements of a website step-by-step. Unlike the typical process of overhauling a website all at once, with progressive updates a little piece of the website is changed, followed by another, and another. The roll-out can be as fast or slow as necessary, but the goal is to make these changes in such a manner that the site visitors hardly notice them happening.
Traditionally, progressive enhancements have been used to prevent a site from rendering older browsers obsolete. Slow enhancements were a way to keep as many browsers able to visit a site as possible. In the past, many website visitors, particularly older ones, were often hesitant or unfamiliar with how to upgrade their web browsers. Similarly, mobile device browsers were often less powerful than their computer counterparts. As a result, if a site was too advanced it might not be accessible to many of its visitors. Today, this is less of a concern, as updating has become simpler and more familiar to users and portable device browsers have become increasingly powerful, but it does remain a concern.
Pay Attention to the Content
The best approach to progressive updates is to make sure that all written content remains accessible to all browsers. Burying text in complicated code can be problematic and make a site completely useless, so keeping text readily available by keeping it simple is the best plan. The same is true of basic functionality, like menu structures and contact forms. Then, it is possible to begin incrementally enhancing features like improving backgrounds, banners, photos, and themes. You can also start adding new pages and features, one at a time. Before long, the page will be completely overhauled and you can finally start working on your text content.
Text is tricky, as it is the primary source of information for search engines to determine your page’s relevance. It needs to be updated regularly, but it needs to remain relevant and consistent. The best option is to use a writer affiliated with a professional web design firm that is fluent in search engine optimization (SEO), blogging, and copywriting technique. Such a writer should be able to help you make the incremental changes you desire while keeping your site highly relevant and top ranking for its keywords.
For more information on how best to implement a plan of progressive updates for your website, contact Absolute Web Services; we are here to help.
Last week we spoke with Georgiy Slobodenyuk, Software Architect at…