A plea for a no JavaScript fallback

Do you know what other people do with JavaScript on their pages? I don’t. Now I don’t want to accuse anyone of anything harmful. But how should I know if I’m a new visitor to your site?

Consequence: I still have a script blocker in my main browser.
Yes, for reference I have one without a script blocker.

I started with a script blocker years ago when my internet connection cost me money per byte. Of cause nowadays I have a flat-rate but I never grew out of the habit of having a script blocker.

As I do normally encounter script blocking I sometimes take the time to play “How many scripts do I need to get this site to work?”. As most script blockers have a white list function, which I use regularly, I don’t even have to play it all the times. I had years to build up my white list after all.

And boy do some pages load scripts. I have seen regular sites (nothing special) with more than 15 scripts. I think the highest count I can remember was over 40 which was an extreme case, I hope.

Just to make something clear: I have nothing against a site using JavaScript.

In fact I don’t even want you to find any big and/or costly fallbacks for whatever functionality you use. Just be honest and tell me.

Just a simple “This site needs JavaScript to function properly.” at the top of the page is enough. Hide it with JavaScript and be done with it. And I know you can.

Why do I wish for this?

Because many people don’t do that.

As I said – my script blocker nearly always triggers and so I tend to ignore it.

Now if you tell me I will check, enable your scripts (hopefully not too many…) and I get the user experience you actually planned, designed and programmed. We will both be happy.

If you don’t I will at first assume your site will work.

Which brings us to the following cases of web sites:

1. I no work

These pages are a bit extreme and don’t load anything if a script blocker is on – I literally had blank pages. Really nothing. I mostly didn’t play “How many scripts..” on these sites but went somewhere else.

2. I still no work

Your site looks very destroyed without JavaScript?
I accept you want JavaScript but I also do not have any faith in your developers since they can’t even display your site name correctly without JavaScript…

3. I don’t work and you can see it here, here and here

Yes a “little” destroyed is totally okay – add a sentence to your HTML output and I will happily turn on JavaScript for you.

Thankfully most sites fall into this category.

4. I look good but I don’t work

You are looking really great but why do you not tell me you do not work?
I will find out when I click somewhere (menu point – next in a pager – …).

I think these are some of the worst.

I will assume that you (or your developers) actually worked on a no JavaScript solution looking great but without functionality (even if you didn’t) and then did not tell me about it. That makes me unhappy – especially if was already interacting with your site – and was then forced by me (no scripts allowed) and by you (no warning) to enable scripts and reload the page and if I’m unlucky loose whatever point I had reached.

5. I look good and I work sometimes


These pages where half the functionality works and you only realise the problem when you already filtered and searched for something. And yes I manly encounter this point on shopping sites. I will not be a happy user believe me.

6. And sometimes you find gems: I may not look perfect but I work

These pages have some display errors but do actually still work.

At this point you should realise how often I ignore my script block notification as I find them regularly… It would still be nice of you to tell me I should turn JavaScript.

When everything is said and done:

To improve the user experience on your site and my mood – be upfront about using JavaScript and tell me (and everyone else using a script blocker).

One thought on “A plea for a no JavaScript fallback

  1. Pingback: Finds I – Drupal Adventuress

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