Recently I started a site of tools for boardgames players. Simple tools like dice and spinners.
I wanted the site to be as accessible as possible. So I challenged myself with some rules on how it would work.
I learned a lot by doing it, and started to write posts about building tools without
js. But before I write any more I wanted to answer the question:
Why in 2021 would you bother making a website without
While researching this post I found two really great sources of information. So, most of this is going to be stolen from this article by Adam Silver and this post from gov.uk.
But I'm going to go a little deeper into why some people block
The obvious answer to why you should build a website that doesn't need
js is… because some people don't use
js. But how many?!
The answer to this question is roughly
There's not a lot of information on this but here's what I found:
- A 2010 study by yahoo suggests
- A 2013 study by gov.uk suggests
- For buzzfeed in 2018 it was
1% sounds like a lot! is it really possible 1 in 100 people block
1% from these studies is
gov.uk the number of people who actively block
js (or use a really really old browser) is
0.2% — 1 in 500.
0.2% have their reasons, but first let's look at the
0.8% of visits where the
- A feature you're using doesn't work on an older browser. e.g.
ES6on an old version of
- Inteference from a browser extension. Some web-extensions alter your site's code - with negative effects.
- Network Errors. Sometimes things just break.
- Mobile users losing signal - e.g. from being in a rural area, going through a tunnel, falling down a manhole, etc
- Some browsers block javsacript on slow connections. — Android does this
- CDN going down. in 2017 AWS went down for 3 hours
- ISPs accidentally blocking your CDN — Sky Broadband once blocked jQuery
- mobile networks altering your content and breaking it — T-mobile and Orange also broke jQuery!
There's probably other reasons too.
That accounts for about
0.8% of visitors not using
But what about the
0.2% who block
- are stuck with or prefer an very old or text-based browser
Others choose text-to-speech browsers that don't support
MacOS works within any browser.
Many people disable
Who does this?
- People who work with sensitive or valuable data.
- Journalists and whistleblowers. Edward Snowden recommends switching off js
- Cautious people who don't want to get their credit cards stolen.
Lots of people don't like corporations collecting their personal data. You might block ads, and tracking scripts.
Cost & Bandwidth #
d3.js (a popular graphing library) costs
1 cent in Canada. In Mauritania it costs
0.06% of the average daily income.
That's may not seem like a lot. But
d3.js is only
90kB — and only one of many scripts someone may have to download to use a site.
The same logic applies for people with limited bandwidth.
dev.to costs 24 cents to visit on mobile in canada!
CPU and Battery #
Users of low-powered devices — or one that's doing more important tasks in the background — may want to take pressure off their CPU.
People without easy access to a power supply may want to save battery.
Out-dated Browsers & Text-based browsers #
Very old browsers like
IE < 3,
Some text-based browsers like
Lynx don't support
Lynx is a browser that runs in terminal applications. So someone browsing the web on a computer without a
GUI may well be using it.
Lynx has been around since 1992 and is still updated today. So people are definitely using it.
Some people just prefer the web without js. #
Should you cater to
Yes and no. Personally, I enjoy going out of my way to make things work. I find all this stuff fascinating. But making sure a site works for the
The Curb Cut Effect #
An analogy that comes up often when talking about web accessibility is curb cuts. Curb cuts are the small concrete ramps on the side of the road.
Curb cuts we're added to sidewalks after a long campaign from disability rights activists. Their purpose was to give wheel-chair users the same freedoms non-disabled people enjoy.
Now that curb cuts are everywhere — everyone benefits from them. People with strollers, skateboarders, people delvering packages, and more.
The point? Making the world more accessible for one group of people benefits everyone. That's the curb cut effect.
Here's a great episode of 99% invisible about curb cuts.
0.2% of people who disable it.
It improves the
Building everything you can without
js will make your site:
- smaller – (most of the time)
- more reliable
- more accessible
- have smoother animations
- easier to index by search engines
- less vulnerable to hacks
- easier to develop – personal opinion
I'd prefer to write
js all day — but finding
css only solutions has made me a better developer.
It's forced me to find creative ways of solving problems — and to learn new
If you're going to build sites without
js you're going to need to test them.
NoScript — it's available on Google Chrome and Firefox and elsewhere too.
As of writing this
100,000+users on Google Chrome
404,376users on Firefox
That's at least half a million people who use that specific app. There are many more apps and other methods of disabling
Give browsing the web without
js a try, or maybe even have a go at using
Lynx. Let me know what you think.
- 17 Mar 21
- 17 Mar 21