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JavaScript and AJAX Forum

"JavaScript disabled" surfers
can they tell...?

 12:04 am on May 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

Avoiding the unresolvable arguement about why/if/should webpages use JavaScript...

Can those users, who have disabled JavaScript in their browsers, tell if they are missing stuff on the webpages they visit? Do some browsers warn them? Should the webpage warn them? (I have actually seen that warning parsed in SERPs and it looks terrible)



 12:06 am on May 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

The webpage can warn them with <noscript></noscript> content.


 12:40 am on May 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well, if JavaScript is needed for page functionality, then it should be used .. and then it should also warn the user.

For example, why send data to the server, when certain functions can be taken care of client-side?


 2:24 am on May 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

I find it is pretty easy to ascertain if javascript functionality is required. I strongly suspect that those who know enough to disable javascript in their browsers, are also very capable of determining its need.

Please don't get me wrong, javascript has many, many valuable uses. But as with many "tools" available to webmasters, at times it is abused. That could be said for virtually everything on the web.... Javascript is a powerful tool.

I have been surfing extensively with javascript disabled, just to see what "barriers" I run up against. The answer is: surprisingly few! And those that do present themselves (as far as functionality is concerned) are quite obvious. It's not difficult to spot a flyout menu or to realise that a window popup is required to view the special content.

While javascript can be "disabled" in most browsers, Opera makes it EXTREMELY easy to switch back and forth (without the need to restart the browser). F12,E script/off... F12,E script/on.

I feel it is a good lesson in useability for Webmasters to try surfing with javascript disabled on occasion. I've gained more that a little insight. You can gain perspective from both sides of the "browser pane" the developer's and the end-user's. Interesting to say the least.


 2:32 am on May 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

Let me see .. How many times have you mentioned Opera and F12 now, papabaer? ;)

Seriously though, I agree with you. It's easy to tell when JavaScript is absolutely necessary. Either because of what you mentioned (menus and pop-up windows) or because whoever designed the website used the <noscript> tag the way it is meant to be used - to display content/information for users who do not have JavaScript enabled.


 4:51 am on May 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

but what is "absolutely necessary?". We use js to deliver real time news headlines. It degrades gracefully with no js, leaving no indication that anything is missing. However the user experience misses a lot. These are not out of the box Moreover feeds but basically js renditions of our own news sources. We can also deliver by includes etc, but js has its advantages. Basically they dont know what they are missing even if its not "absoultely necessary". and i dont really want to place text messages suggesting they turn JS on.


 5:46 am on May 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

Chiyo, I still believe that most surfers who learn to disable/enable javascript in their browsers are intelligent enough to "enable" it to view content of their choosing.

Some of the news sites I visit require it... no problem. It's enabled.

It is not difficult to inform visitors that javascript need to be enabled to experience added features. I am curious if newer browsers will make switching .js on/off even simpler, giving easier access to surfers. I guess that bridge will have to be dealt with when (and if) it comes...


 5:53 am on May 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

yes papabear i agree that if someone has deliberately gone to the trouble to turn off js they will most porbably know how to turn it on again. Thats an excellent point. i just dont want to add a text to every one of our 200 pages with js news delivery that they should turn it on!

However no big issue really, we are gradually changing news delivery from js to internal parsing of RSS and then including the results as a PHP include. We have to move with the times.. and the advantages of losing popups compaared to losing js dynamic content to many browsers is the grim reality..

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