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    Do we really still need to design for non-JavaScript users


    Normally, it is simple to do so, so I do.

    But sometimes, it takes more work, and we only have so much time and money.

    Other times, it could detract from the JavaScript user's experience, and why risk the majority of our users going elsewhere for such a small percentage of the population?

    I guess it depends on the site's particular audience. Take WordPress for instance. Their administrator back-end requires JavaScript, so need the signup form work without JavaScript? I checked, and it almost works, but I couldn't get past a few sections, so I am worse off because I wasted time. Sure, allow them to view all the preliminary propaganda so they try to signup, but when getting to the signup form, wouldn't it be better to just tell them to enable JavaScript on their browser if they wish to proceed?
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    That is what I do. So many web designs require Javascript that I don't mess with non-javascript any more. Very few users have javascript disabled these days as result. If they don't want to enable it then, as far as I'm concerned, they don't want to use my web site.
    There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those that understand binary and those that don't.
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    Hi,

    no offense, but I find it incredibly arrogant to lock out users who don't support JavaScript.

    Many people (including myself) choose to turn JavaScript off by default for privacy and security reasons. This is a legitimate decision, and I don't think anybody has to right to question it.

    Of course you can't provide all features if JavaScript is not active. But the basic functionalities of the site should be fully usable for everybody. Treat JavaScript as an optional plugin which may or may not be present.

    The only exception is when the whole application is based on JavaScript and doesn't make sense without it (things like Google Docs).

    Comments on this post

    • derplumo agrees
    The 6 worst sins of securityHow to (properly) access a MySQL database with PHP

    Why can’t I use certain words like "drop" as part of my Security Question answers?
    There are certain words used by hackers to try to gain access to systems and manipulate data; therefore, the following words are restricted: "select," "delete," "update," "insert," "drop" and "null".
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    It is not a question of locking out users. It is a matter of return on investment. There are so few users that want to keep javascript turned off that it is simply not worth the time and effort required to accomodate them.
    There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those that understand binary and those that don't.
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    There's also only a small percentage of people who are blind or deaf. That doesn't give you the right to disregard them and write the website only for users with perfect senses.

    Sure, some companies actually do think like that. If your customer or boss is mostly interested in bringing down the development time to the absolute minimum, there's not much you can do about that.

    But if you have any chance to influence the development process and drive it into a positive direction, make a proper website which is accessible to everybody, not some “ideal user”. How is that a big effort? If you write proper HTML, it shouldn't really matter whether you do Ajax requests or classical requests.
    The 6 worst sins of securityHow to (properly) access a MySQL database with PHP

    Why can’t I use certain words like "drop" as part of my Security Question answers?
    There are certain words used by hackers to try to gain access to systems and manipulate data; therefore, the following words are restricted: "select," "delete," "update," "insert," "drop" and "null".
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    Very poor analogy. The blind and deaf are not that way by choice. A better analogy is to use those who are blindfolded and stuff cotton in their ears. Then your analogy becomes rather silly.

    On the other hand I don't entirely disagree with your complaint about potential negativity with non-accomodating web sites but cost is always a major concern with respect to relative benefit. That is just business.
    There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those that understand binary and those that don't.
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    Originally Posted by gw1500se
    A better analogy is to use those who are blindfolded and stuff cotton in their ears.
    So that's how you view people who care about privacy and security? Interesting.

    An average website which cannot be used with a standard browser just because JavaScript is turned off is garbage. Sorry. Sometimes you have no other choice, because some pinhead tries to exchange quality for money. But that doesn't change the fact that it's gargabe.



    Originally Posted by gw1500se
    On the other hand I don't entirely disagree with your complaint about potential negativity with non-accomodating web sites but cost is always a major concern with respect to relative benefit. That is just business.
    Fortunately, almost all websites I come accross do not have this understanding of business.

    Again, I don't see how this is such a big problem. What do you do to your websites that it's absolutely impossible to use them with the standard HTTP workflow?
    The 6 worst sins of securityHow to (properly) access a MySQL database with PHP

    Why can’t I use certain words like "drop" as part of my Security Question answers?
    There are certain words used by hackers to try to gain access to systems and manipulate data; therefore, the following words are restricted: "select," "delete," "update," "insert," "drop" and "null".
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    There is no anti-discrimination legislation requiring websites to operate without JavaScript that I know of. Ethically, I believe there is no reason to do so as it is an individual’s choice, not a physical impairment not to enable JavaScript. If it does not provide a suitable ROI or provide some other benefit which exceeds the cost to implement or delays to market, then how can you justify implementing it?
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    If your site relies heavily on JS you are probably not only cutting out non-JS users but also those who are deaf/blind as the accessibility tools these people use probably will not function as well or at all.

    I once disabled JS on my home computer to test some of my fallback code and forgot to turn it back on afterwards. I ended up surfing the web for a couple weeks without JS enabled and didn't even notice. It was a nice surprise to see that most things still functioned well without JS considering how many people seem to think it is required for the modern web.

    JS should be added on top of something that already functions without it to make it more user friendly. In my experience this usually does not require that much additional work, with the exception being if you want/need an almost entirely different UI for a JS user vs Non-JS user.

    Outside of large application-like sites (ie, google docs, online ide, etc), most JS is used for things like animation, making fancy select boxes, validation/submission of forms, navigation. All of this can and should be setup in such a way that disabling JS does not cause problems. If you don't make those work without JS then quite frankly you are simply failing at your job as a web developer.

    Comments on this post

    • Clone53421 agrees
    • Jacques1 agrees
    • derplumo agrees
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    I know this may be a 'B.S.' argument, but when using css to style your website, you also want to think about the other browsers you normally don't use. In your vision 'everybody' uses google chrome and 'nobody' uses for example opera but the fact is that they also have the right to see your website like you wanted it to.

    Now replace css with Js and the browser stuff with turning Js on/off.

    What I want to say is, why do you want people to change themselves to your website and why not the website to the user? Making a sort of 'backup-plan' for the non-Js users would not take much time for a seasoned developer and it will distinguish you from the ones that just neglect doing this.

    And why would you make your website nice to see in different browsers while you don't want to do the same with what makes your site actually work?

    I have to say I hadn't really thought of it before reading this, but in my opinion it is a good thing to think about while making a site. And of course the boss will make the final decision, but as a developer there should be something inside you burning and wanting to make it one of the better developed sites there is on the Internet!

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    • Jacques1 agrees : Well said.
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    Leaving aside all the arguments that have already been exchanged:

    I'm pretty disappointed by this ignorance towards usability. I thought it's a general consensus amongst tech-savvy people that there are many ways to use the Internet and that we should support them to the best of our abilities.

    Yes, there's probably a majority of users who runs around with Chrome/Firefox/IE on Windows and has JavaScript turned all up. It's perfectly fine to focus on those. But there are also people like us who don't fall into the category of the average Internet user. Some of us use Linux or BSD instead of Windows. Some of us use a different browser. And some of us choose to turn JavaScript off. The reason behind those decisions is really none of your business.

    Are you saying those users are all worthless just because they're a minority and won't sue you? I find this incredibly arrogant. And I'm surprised to hear statements like this in a community for web developers.
    The 6 worst sins of securityHow to (properly) access a MySQL database with PHP

    Why can’t I use certain words like "drop" as part of my Security Question answers?
    There are certain words used by hackers to try to gain access to systems and manipulate data; therefore, the following words are restricted: "select," "delete," "update," "insert," "drop" and "null".
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    Originally Posted by Jacques1
    Are you saying those users are all worthless just because they're a minority and won't sue you? I find this incredibly arrogant.
    No, of course I am not saying those users are worthless. I am saying they might not be worth the investment. I do not judge your reasons to disable JavaScript, and might even agree with them, but I find it arrogant to expect that every site must cater to a very minority population for no reason other than they do not want to use JavaScript.
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    Originally Posted by NotionCommotion
    .. every site must cater to a very minority population for no reason other than they do not want to use JavaScript.
    Sites don't have to cater to non-js users, they just should not abusing JS in the first place. That is the whole idea behind the progressive enhancement development style. You take the non-js version of something and apply JS in such a way that it does what you want but still falls back gracefully.

    For example one stupid thing several people do is when they want to open a page in a popup they will code it this way:
    Code:
    <a href="javascript:void(0);" onclick="window.open('/the/url','popup','width=100,height=100');">
    For someone that chooses to disable JS that link is now completely useless. A more correct way to do that, which takes absolutely no extra effort on the developers part, is like this:
    Code:
    <a href="/the/url" onclick="return !window.open(this.href, 'popup', 'width=100,height=100');" target="_blank">
    For someone who uses JS, they will get your little 100x100 popup with the page loaded into it. For someone who chooses to disable javascript (or if the browser blocks the popup) then a normal browser window will be opened and the URL loaded instead.

    Another common abuse of JS is people trying to make a div into a link with JS so they can have a block-level link, for example:
    Code:
    <div onclick="location.href='/some/url';">Blah</div>
    All you need to do in reality is just use a normal <a> tag and style it with display: block;. No JS is required at all for that functionality.

    A lot of JS is used for similarly easy to handle cases and there's no good excuse for not coding properly so that the page is still usable by both populations.


    There is no anti-discrimination legislation requiring websites to operate without JavaScript that I know of
    Maybe not directly, but as mentioned above relying too much on JS may break accessibility tools people use, and there are some industry-specific laws which require sites to meet a minimum level of accessibility. If you happen to work on a site for which one of those laws applies and you don't account for those accessibility requirements you just might have lawyers knocking on your door some day.
    Last edited by kicken; February 18th, 2014 at 05:46 PM.
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    Unless you're making a web application, I think you can make your websites function normally without JavaScript anyways. The better you get at becoming a web programmer, the easier this becomes. As a professional I do my best to make sure JavaScript isn't a requirement for a website.

    Personally though, I feel it's ridiculous that people disable JavaScript. Disabling JavaScript does nothing more than give you a warm fuzzy feeling like you're sticking it to the man. I would hardly say its a security matter to have JavaScript enabled. Do you have PC? That's a security risk. Do you have it plugged into a network of any type? Security risk. Is it online? Security risk. Do you run ANY software on it? Security risk. JavaScript is a drop in the bucket it terms of security. Big Brother doesn't need JavaScript to track you either. Unless you proxy everything into oblivion, every time you make an http request, you can/are getting tracked.

    Sorry about the rant
    So IMO
    -as professionals we have a professional and ethical responsibility to make sure everyone can access the content on the websites we produce
    -personally, turning off js seems weird and makes me sad.

    Comments on this post

    • Jacques1 disagrees : Oh boy ...
    • requinix agrees : repping to -1
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    Posts pruned


    Both of you, shut it. From here on it's constructive replies or nothing at all.

    Jacques: You're already on thin ice. I don't care who started it, keep your nose clean.
    Gatsby: If you have a problem with someone, click the and report their post. Don't argue back.
    Last edited by requinix; February 19th, 2014 at 02:58 AM.
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