I see what you're saying, Scot-Bot, and that could be a problem in some circumstances. In this case, however, I think it will be OK--because the content that's being replaced is entirely invisible to non-JS users as it's inside a DHTML script. So I'll just use the <noscript> tag to write a nav table, which will appear in approximately the same location as the DHTML content would.
I haven't done this just yet because I am a little stumped as to how to fit all the most important navigational items--there are probably 10 to 15--in one regular HTML table. I'm still scratching my head over that one. I suppose that providing some alternate navigation is better than providing none, but I really want to do it the right way since it's an ecommerce site, and if folks can't find what they want, then those 6% will still be lost potential customers.
I think a little thoughtful and creative application of <noscript></noscript> in the body can accomplish exactly what SLeon wants. After all, she indicated that she already has a text-only variation available at the end of the content, and she wants a JS alternative at the top of the page. And keeping the <noscript></noscript> in the <body></body> will properly nest her HTML tags.
Good luck on the alternative HTML, SLeon. I just looked at Yahoo! and all the stuff they've got crammed at the top of their page (they probably got 30-40 items up there). It is difficult to scan, but they try to give some structure by using <b></b>. Maybe something similar would work for you.
I suppose if your solution looks a little crowded, you can maybe take small comfort that your JS-disabled users are used to that. What I mean is, if your glasses are fogged over, everything is going to look a little blurry
Well, I went ahead and added a Yahoo-like text navigation table at the top of the page inside the <noscript> tags. (Thanks for that design tip, Doug!) It's cluttered, it's not elegant, but at least the most important areas of the site are right there for non-JS users. I also set the pages to just link to the default IE CSS if JS is disabled...again, not a perfect solution, but maybe better than completely losing the style of the site.
Anyone who is interested can take a look at http://www.strangepegs.com . Obviously if you want to see the non-JS version, you'll have to turn off scripting in your browser :)
Thanks so much to all of you for your help on this issue! I don't think I could have navigated through (no pun intended :) ) on my own.
If you were to build on the Netscape canned language, what would you add to tell your users why they should turn on JS?
Well, done, Sarah, the site looks really good and the alternative nav works really well. I don't think it's as inelegant as you think.
I saw a solution at an another well-known site you might think worth having a look at. The address is www.flashkit.com