Jayesh Patel
Filed under - Development, jQuery, Other Stuff, Web Designer Help
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Many sites now rely on JavaScript for essential functionality, like populating page content with Ajax or submitting and validating forms—which means that when scripting isn’t available, entire pages or features can break completely.

A search for statistics on the percentage of users who have JavaScript enabled yields numbers from 85–98%; the most quoted source, W3schools’ browser statistics site, estimates that about 5% of Internet users have JavaScript disabled. (At current internet usage rates, this translates to roughly 83 million people!) We work with several clients who use custom enterprise browser confgurations with selected JavaScript features modifed or disabled for security reasons; these browsers will properly “register” as JavaScript enabled, but not all sites or pages will function.

Many popular JavaScript- and AJAX-powered sites—including Adobe’s e-commerce store, the travel-booking site Kayak, and the project-management tool Basecamp—simply require JavaScript for core functionality, and present an error message when scripting isn’t enabled.

These error messages usually tell the user to turn on scripting and use a supported browser. But what if a person is at the airport and needs to check alternative fights, or see the status of a project, on an older Blackberry or Palm Treo that doesn’t support JavaScript? Downloading a new browser isn’t an option.

A surprising number of large e-commerce sites build essential feature

A surprising number of large e-commerce sites build essential features that drive revenue in a way that works only when scripting is available. On the Sears.com website, newly relaunched in the fall of 2009, when a customer either searches for a product or navigates to any product listing page (for example, Home > Appliances > Microwaves > Countertop) without JavaScript, the results area that should display products remains blank except for an Ajax “loading” animation.

The page is served with only a placeholder spinner animation, which is clearly intended to be replaced with a list of products by an Ajax request after the page loads; there is no meaningful markup on the page when it loads. The search flters and featured product blocks are also JavaScript-dependent. For users without scripting, the Sears site completely fails in its primary purposes: helping shoppers do research and buy products.

Although it would be nice to assume this is an isolated situation, it’s a widespread problem. On the current Walmart.com site, every Add To Cart button is added to the page with Ajax; without JavaScript, there are no purchase-related buttons. Both the Toys R Us
and The North Face sites have an Add To Cart button on their product detail pages, but clicking that button calls a JavaScript function that does nothing at all in a browser with scripting disabled.

All of these are lost revenue opportunities that could have been easily avoided by simply including a functioning Add To Cart button in the page that submits a simple form.

Resource by BOOK - Designing with Progressive Enhancement

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