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Are Popular Websites Usable Without JavaScript?

  •  11-23-2015

Are your websites usable by people who have JavaScript disabled in their browser? And should you even care? This, of course, is a question of your audience and development budget but it should be common practice to present these users with a fallback whenever possible. Let us take a look at some popular websites and see if we can still use them without JavaScript, maybe we can even learn something in the process.

Google.com

Google

You can use the Google search perfectly fine without JavaScript even though features like search suggestions are disabled. But the general search functionality works just fine which is understandable given the target audience (which I guess is everybody).

Google Maps

Google Maps

 

Interestingly this does not hold true for other Google products like Maps. I would imagine recreating this functionality without JavaScript would be kind of hard and expensive. But they have a funny error message which is kinda nice I guess.

GMail

Gmail

 

Another Google product but this one has a separate view just for users without JavaScript. It feels a little slow compared to the JavaScript version but can be used just fine in my opinion. It looks kinda dated but that is understandable and somewhat fitting.

Amazon.com

Amazon

 

As you would expect you can browse and shop around on Amazon just fine with JavaScript disabled. The site even feels slightly less sluggish to use but that might just be some connection issues.

YouTube.com

Youtube

 

Watching videos in the browser without JavaScript? Sounds like it might be doable with the HTML 5 video functionality. But no such luck on YouTube, you can browse the videos but playback seems not to be possible.

NyTimes.com

nytimes

 

Another website that works flawlessly even with JavaScript disabled, as I would expect for a content based website.

Summary

So what have we learned? Aside from entertainment you can use the web just fine with¬†JavaScript disabled. This means in most cases implementing a non-JavaScript fallback makes sense and I’m happy to report that you will be able to use our website just fine without JavaScrip.

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