Why Do This?
Firstly, let's ask how many people browse the web without JS.
That's a small fraction of visitors - but not an insignificant number of people to piss off if you run a major website.
- Security. Why run untrusted code on your computer if not strictly necessary?
- Incompatible browser. As well as specialised browsers, many people still run outdated versions of popular web browsers.
How The Other Half Live
I think it's important to see how our technology works when presented in less-than-ideal circumstances. If an astronaut on the ISS wants to load your website on their IE6 box running over slow link with huge ping times, what's their experience going to be?
I quite often use Lynx to browse the web. It's a text only browser with very few bells and whistles. Here's how it looks when trying to use Twitter.
I use Lynx for 4 main reasons:
- How does my layout work for those who use Text-To-Speech to browse the web? It's not perfect, but I can see how easy it is to navigate, whether I've used alt/title tags for images correctly.
- When on a painfully slow connection. We've all be stuck somewhere with Internet speeds barely better than dial-up, right? With Lynx I'm not loading MBs of JS, CSS, images, Flash objects, HTML5 video. Just the information I want.
- What does a search engine see? When a spider comes crawling, how much semantic meaning do they derive from my markup?
- Does basic functionality work for the lowest common denominator.