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Technical question about Javascript disabled option

From: Giacomo Petri <giacomopetri89@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2017 19:34:48 +0200
Message-ID: <CAGc5L=hkXFjvDELAMJGwmn58bO6vqV90pqS8bq_qyUz54H0RcQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Dear WAI IG,

My question concerns the accessibility of a page with javascript disabled

Consider the following scenarios:

   - javascript disabled -> blank page;
   - javascript disabled -> global elements (for example header and footer)
   and blank page content;
   - javascript disabled -> “Enable javascript to navigate this site” text;

Which of them are accessible?

I listed my considerations dividing them between PROS and CONS:

*PROS (page is accessible)*:

   - in WCAG 2.0 there are sufficient techniques that require Javascript;
   if user disable Javascript these sufficient techniques aren’t available and
   the content of the page won’t be accessible;
   - a WebAIM survey in 2014 reported that 97.6% of respondents had
   Javascript enabled (I think we should consider accessibility linked to the
   technology progress and Javascript is part of this);
   - with the warning “Enable javascript to navigate this site” the
   developer took care to alert the user that informations are available
   activating Javascript.

*CONS (page is not accessible)*:

   - from the WCAG “omissis … Following these guidelines will make content
   accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including
   blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities,
   cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities,
   photosensitivity and combinations of these. Following these guidelines will
   also often make your Web content more usable to users in general.”;
   considering people that navigate with Javascript disabled option or with
   other browsers like LYNX, in the scenario highlighted the content of the
   page won’t be available at all.
   - from the WCAG “omissis… If technologies are used in a way that is not
   accessibility supported, or if they are used in a non-conforming way, then
   they do not block the ability of users to access the rest of the page.”
   (reading the Understanding Conformance Requirements this block was
   described to avoid interferences between technologies but may be useful for
   my question) may we consider “disabled javascript” a technology used in a
   non-conforming way? If that’s true, the user is not able to navigate and
   understand the content of the page because the content is missing.
   - comparing two WebAIM surveys in 2012 and 2014 we can see that the
   number of users with Javascript disabled is slightly increased.

>From my personal considerations, at least a warning message should be
implemented to alert the user the page is not working without Javascript,
so the first and the second options are not accessible, the third is
“enough” accessible.

Returning to my question: in general is obviously a good practice make
content available without Javascript and provide “necessary” functionality
also without Javascript, but, in an already existing site where the effort
to support it without Javascript is unmanageable, may the “Enable
Javascript to navigate the site” text solution considered a sufficient
technique or not? Display a blank page without any error message is
considered a WCAG failure?

I thank you in advance for answering these questions.


Giacomo Petri
Received on Thursday, 5 October 2017 17:35:13 UTC

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