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  1. #1
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    And the Inaugural 'Electric Floor' Award goes to...

    Hey guys,

    I've written a little piece for the next Design View (due to send in the next 24 hours) on JavaScript and Accessibility, but thought it might be relevant to pop it in here too.

    ************

    And the Inaugural 'Electric Floor' Award goes to...

    Gee, aren't floors great? All flat and clean and smooth, they do a faultless job of preventing us from plunging headlong into the voids beneath them -- a particularly useful thing in multi-story buildings.

    It's interesting to reflect that, although electricity has been available for over 100 years, no one has ever sought to improve the humble floor by making it totally dependent on electric power.

    Floors that disappeared, collapsed or became otherwise unusable whenever the power was cut -- even if that was only occasionally -- would be inconvenient, to say the least! While electricity has often been used to improve the usability of your floor by heating, cooling or lighting it better, no floor that I'm aware of would cease to act as a walkable, navigable surface without the presence of electricity.

    With this in mind, I find it remarkable that large, successful, multinational corporations can build the foundations of their online headquarters on a transient technology -- in this case, JavaScript -- that may or may not be available to their users. Disabling JavaScript completely disables the fundamental operations of these sites just as surely as would removing the floor from the company's real-world lobby.

    So, without further ado, I'm pleased to announce that the inaugural Electric Floor Award goes to ... *drumroll please*... (disable JavaScript before clicking on it) ... Visa.com!


    When you arrive at Visa's global portal without JavaScript turned on, you'll be greeted by what's probably the most extensive use of white space you'll ever see ...

    ... and nothing else.

    While simplicity and elegance are to be encouraged, this is probably taking things a little too far.

    If you were to somehow make it past this first redirection page, you'd be deposited at the landing page shown below.


    Things immediately appear more encouraging. The page certainly seems to be rendering fine without JavaScript ... that is, unless you want to access any of Visa's Consumer & Business Sites. If you do, you'll be asked to select your country from a dropdown, and this dropdown will be empty if you have JavaScript disabled.

    Okay, I'm making light of the situation, but this is a serious issue. We're not talking about complex operations that necessarily require scripting. This isn't:

    * a multi-site mashup
    * advanced functionality, such as a 3D animation, multimedia, or an interactive map
    * a partial page refresh with sooper groovy Ajax

    We're talking about boring, fundamental operations like page rendering and navigation -- operations that have worked flawlessly since Tim Berners-Lee first imagined them two decades ago. And at Visa, they're failing completely.

    There are simply no good reasons not to make basic pages like these work without JavaScript, and the Electric Floor Awards are designed to highlight some of the high-profile offenders. If Google can make GMail work without JavaScript, there should be no excuse for infinitely simple sites to fail.

    Congratulations to Visa.com on taking out the first award!

    I've got my eye on another half-dozen sites that qualify for the award, but if you're aware of other worthy nominees, we'd be interested to hear about them.

    And if you're thinking 'Come on, how many nutcases are there REALLY out there cruising around without JavaScript?', perhaps an equally relevant question is 'How many Sony Ericsson's are there out there?'.

    Alex Walker
    SitePoint Developer
    SitePoint - Learnable

  2. #2
    The knight who said ni! RockyShark's Avatar
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    Love the award name. Who came up with that gem?

  3. #3
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyShark View Post
    Love the award name. Who came up with that gem?
    Thanks, Rocky. I played around with a few alternatives and wasn't sure if it would go over the head of too many people -- my sense of humor is a bit left-field at times. But I had 2 or 3 people read it first and they seemed to get the analogy.

    'Hall of shame' is a bit over-used these days.
    Alex Walker
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Addict jessebhunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyShark View Post
    Love the award name. Who came up with that gem?

    I like the name too!


    I'm also somewhat surprised that Visa.com dropped the accessibility ball so badly!
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  5. #5
    Avid Logophile silver trophy
    ParkinT's Avatar
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    Thumbs up A Rose by any other name...

    ... would still have thorns!

    Your analogy is perfect!
    Your explanation (the "set up") is quite a logical and reasonable argument.
    Bravo on all accounts!!
    Don't be yourself. Be someone a little nicer. -Mignon McLaughlin, journalist and author (1913-1983)


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  6. #6
    SitePoint Evangelist AlienDev's Avatar
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    Nice article, pretty funny
    And the sony ericsons part at the end :haha: -- great!

    Quite sad that some companies worth billions can hire such pathetic "web developers"...
    Me on StackOverflow | Blog & personal website.

    I mostly use: PHP, Java, JavaScript, Android.

  7. #7
    Non-Member DelvarWorld's Avatar
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    I think it depends on the site, I mean YouTube is both Flash AND Javascript dependant for any content

  8. #8
    SitePoint Addict fattyjules's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DelvarWorld View Post
    I think it depends on the site, I mean YouTube is both Flash AND Javascript dependant for any content
    Yeah, but YouTube tells you what's going on if Javascript or Flash are disabled. Visa gives you a bit fat nothing.

  9. #9
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    That reminds me of the Browser Wars.

    "Back in my day, we had 14.4k dialup at work, since it was the fastest you could get without a budget the size of the Pentagon, we didn't have this newfangled JavaScript, Flash and Shockwave, and Web sites were made with images that didn't include any ALT text, and if they did, all they said was 'image' - and we liked it that way!"

    "You kids, with your fancy broadband, streaming media, social networking, instant access to communication and information, online gaming and whatnot, you're all too lazy for your own good. I fear for the future of humanity given the sorry state of your generation's lot."

    (I'm just joking folks, I was only 18 at the time the browser wars were starting to die down.)

  10. #10
    SitePoint Guru
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    "And the men and women ... well, the men ... who first went to the moon - they did it with no mouse, a black and white text-only screen, and 32 kilobytes of RAM"

  11. #11
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    "You kids, with your fancy markup languages, you don't know what you've got. Back in my day, we only had 1s and 0s to program with - and we couldn't always afford 1s"
    Jack Pickard | The Pickards

  12. #12
    The knight who said ni! RockyShark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackP View Post
    "You kids, with your fancy markup languages, you don't know what you've got. Back in my day, we only had 1s and 0s to program with - and we couldn't always afford 1s"
    YOU could afford ZEROS??? Luxury!

  13. #13
    SitePoint Guru
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    how would you make the country/state/city selection without javascript?
    - Select Country
    - Submit
    - Select State
    - Submit
    - Select City
    - Submit
    6 Steps with waiting in between.

    Now with Javascript:
    - Select Country
    - Select State
    - Select City
    With sometimes a
    - Submit

    It seams allot easier with JS
    But is there a simpler way to do this without? (something worth the bother that is)

  14. #14
    SitePoint Guru
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    Design without JavaScript, add functionality with JavaScript. It's not as hard as some people make it out to be.
    MySQL v5.1.58
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  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard
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    @Vali

    With the Javascript functionality, that works well, however, they should have something that is used if Javascript isn't available. They should have the waiting in between there for those without Javascript. Plus, there is still a bit of waiting with the Javascript, you're just skipping some page loads.

    Excellent article.

  16. #16
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vali View Post
    how would you make the country/state/city selection without javascript?
    - Select Country
    - Submit
    - Select State
    - Submit
    - Select City
    - Submit
    6 Steps with waiting in between.

    Now with Javascript:
    - Select Country
    - Select State
    - Select City
    With sometimes a
    - Submit

    It seams allot easier with JS
    But is there a simpler way to do this without? (something worth the bother that is)
    We're not arguing for purging JavaScript functionality from the web. It's about designing things so they fail in the way you can control. If the power gets cut to your elevator, you can't expect it to move anymore, but it better not plummet to the basement.

    You build your form to submit and reload the page exactly in the way you described above, but when JavaScript is present the page might remove/hide those submit buttons and simply watch and respond to selections made to the dropdowns. If you went back and changed selector 1 it would reload selector 2 automatically.

    It terms of 'bother', it's no more bother than good metatags, sensible structures or efficient markup. The first time you write it, it will take marginally longer than what you did before, but after that it will make no difference -- it's little if any more code, just a different structure..
    Alex Walker
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    SitePoint - Learnable

  17. #17
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vali View Post
    how would you make the country/state/city selection without javascript?
    You use progressive enhancement. On page 3 of that article there's an example of how you could handle chained SELECT boxes that are similar to the scenario you cited.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  18. #18
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    You use progressive enhancement. On page 3 of that article there's an example of how you could handle chained SELECT boxes that are similar to the scenario you cited.
    There you go. Line by line instruction. Nice work, Tommy.
    Alex Walker
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  19. #19
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    VISA is involved in the mobile emulatoin project

    What's more shameful for VISA is that they are one of the investors in (mobile) accessibility. From the phone emulation site http://mtld.mobi/company

    The very same companies who have delivered the promise of today's information society are the same companies who are investors in dotMobi, including Ericsson, Google... Visa and Vodafone.

    tsk tsk

  20. #20
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    This is where Nelson Mundst from "The Simpsons" comes in, points at Visa and says "Ha Ha!"

  21. #21
    John 8:24 JREAM's Avatar
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    Thats Hilarious haha nice post

  22. #22
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    Same goes for most internet banking sites I've seen. Java applets are an integral part of their login procedure. However, without Javascript enabled, the site becomes an electric floor. Total nothingness. Very unprofessional considering the huge budgets that would've been used to create these sites.
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
    Singapore Web Designer

  23. #23
    SitePoint Zealot twistie's Avatar
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    Wow... I really love the analogy. I perhaps over-reacted but i was laughing for a good two minutes after reading the first post.
    "When you say 'I wrote a program that crashed Windows',
    people just stare at you blankly and say 'Hey, I got those
    with the system, for free'." (L. Torvalds)

  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    Other nominees would be most of the AJAXified Web 2.0 apps springing up these days. Most of them run on only one page. When javascript turns off, the whole site is unusable.

    Gmail on the other hand, would be a great example of failing gracefully.
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
    Singapore Web Designer


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