Surest Way to Lose Customers

I am beta testing Firefox 2 on one of my machines, and will be writing about the new JavaScript 1.7 in a post over at ScriptTeaser. One of the advantages to Firefox 2 is the spellchecker, which works with all text windows. It really is the way to go, rather than have to enable the functionality on every server.

Most of my Firefox extensions don’t work with 2.0b, but one that does is the NoScript, which allows you to ‘whitelist’ a site for JavaScript use. The purpose is to protect yourself if you end up at a site that has a JS exploit, but still allow JavaScript usage for trusted sites. Unfortunately, if a whitelisted site also has an opening for a cross-site scripting hack, exploitive JavaScript can be ‘injected’ into the page.

One can always turn JS off, but that just cuts you off from the useful to frivolous use of scripting that is pretty ubiquitous now. Still, it’s an option.

I like to use NoScript, as I like to see how sites look when their JavaScript is turned off. After all, sites need to make sure they work in a non-script environment. Home pages such hotels.com, shown below, are unacceptable–the mark of sloppy developers far too hung up on technology. Note to the company: Expedia’s worked fine without JavaScript.

Not what you do

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2 Responses to Surest Way to Lose Customers

  1. Anthony says:

    I agree with you here in most cases. I am a strong advocate of proper code degradation and browser accessibility. But there are simply some web sites or web applications where it wouldn’t make sense to have anything else but a message saying:

    We are terribly sorry to inconvenience you, but our site just must have JavaScript enabled in order to use it.
    – Sincerely,
    The Management

    After all, does Google Maps, or any of the other mapping sites really need to have their site degrade properly? There are times when the extra amount of money that must be shelled out in order for “everyone” to use it is cost prohibitive. What are “those” people doing on those sites anyway?

    These are the only cases where I disagree with you, though.

  2. Shelley says:

    Anthony, any application based on JavaScript requires it, and I don’t deny that. We have to assume that the application probably is not the focus of the company–other than those sites that want to re-create Microsoft Office in JavaScript in a browser.

    But a company that puts a dependence on JS when its competitors don’t, is ultimately a company that can kiss customers good-bye.