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  1. #1
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    It's not flash, but it's just as bad!

    I just had a friend contact me via IM -- not really a web developer though he did take a couple college classes on the subject and is a relatively tech saavy person.

    The conversation went thus:

    -----------------------------------------------
    [21:56] usernamehidden: argh
    [21:56] usernamehidden: why to people INSIST on making flash sites that aren't navigable with the keyboard?

    [21:57] deathshadow: Or work right in the first place?

    [21:57] usernamehidden: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2...l?ref=health#0

    [21:57] deathshadow: There's a reason other web developers call them flashtards.

    [21:57] usernamehidden: yeah

    [21:58] deathshadow: That's not flash I don't think.

    [21:58] usernamehidden: ah
    [21:58] usernamehidden: either way it's pissing me off

    [21:58] deathshadow: That's pure javascript.

    [21:59] usernamehidden: not what I'd call any better
    [21:59] usernamehidden: Great, they could piss me off on an iPad too

    [21:59] deathshadow: Pretty much the idea. Why do you think that the browser makers are putting so much effort into faster javascript? So developers who have no business working on professional websites can piss us off by using MORE crap like that!
    -----------------------------------------------

    Really that's what it comes down to and is the biggest problem with all this "gee ain't it neat" animated scripted bull. The really sad part is that in this case it appears to also use AJAX, so the fat bloated train wreck in question was probably sold to the bosses as saving bandwidth...

    Because I'm so sure sending almost a megabyte in javascript and a four megabyte page size in nearly 200 separate files is saving them bandwidth; Welcome to bounce city.

    So we have no keyboard navigation, a bloated page so large nobody is going to wait for it to finish loading, a page that the little traffic they do get to it is probably costing ten times as much to host, nonsensical heading orders and source order making it painful to navigate, nothing even remotely resembling graceful degradation...

    ... and for what? to deliver 7.7k of plaintext, one content image and a 60 thumbnails?

    I've said it a few dozen times, I'm going to say it again -- JUST SAY NO to garbage bloated frameworks, "gee ain't it neat" animated crap, and any other idiocy the art *** in the marketing department tries to tell you is "good for promotion".

    A stellar example of how NOT to build a site for accessibility or usability if there ever was one, and a perfect example of what I mean when I talk about people working as professionals who do not do professional quality work! How the blue blazes do these types of developers get their jobs and more importantly, how the devil do they KEEP them? Shoving their noses so far up the bosses backside they're tasting tonsils or something?!?

    Sorry, just venting a little.

  2. #2
    Non-Member Kalon's Avatar
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    I hear ya loud and clear

    looking at the code for that link my first suspicion is that it was written by either some sort of 3rd party wysiwyg or cms application.

    imho if you use any of those you deserve what you get

    edit: @op oopps, I hope you're not using a wysiwyg or cms application

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalon View Post
    looking at the code for that link my first suspicion is that it was written by either some sort of 3rd party wysiwyg or cms application.
    Emphasis on 3rd party... I've yet to see an off the shelf one that was worth a damn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalon View Post
    edit: @op oopps, I hope you're not using a wysiwyg or cms application
    See my signature for my opinion of WYSIWYGS -- as to CMS, the only ones I use are the ones I write myself but customize specifically for each site.

    I trust the off the shelf ones about as far as I could throw the USS IOWA.

  4. #4
    Non-Member Kalon's Avatar
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    ooopps, didn't see your signature - and yep agree

    my 90 days "probation period" expires in a couple of weeks and I'll be able to add a signature as well

  5. #5
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    If you disable JS you can't see any of the content on that page.
    Apparently they've never heard about progressive enhancement (or graceful degradation)
    It's sad ...
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  6. #6
    Non-Member Kalon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScallioXTX View Post
    If you disable JS you can't see any of the content on that page.
    Apparently they've never heard about progressive enhancement (or graceful degradation)
    It's sad ...
    I suppose that would be the developer's client fault for not choosing to have their website support users without javascript and not the developer's fault.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalon View Post
    I suppose that would be the developer's client fault for not choosing to have their website support users without javascript and not the developer's fault.
    Not necessarily. Maybe the client doesn't even know ...
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  8. #8
    Non-Member Kalon's Avatar
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    without knowing who the client and developer were and what the project specifications were we can only speculate until we go

    I would find it hard to believe the client would accept and sign off on the website and pay the developer if he didn't provide what they had specified.

  9. #9
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    The Web Developer is supposed to be the hired Professional so theoretically and morally they should be informing the client of such possible failings.

    Though on the flip-side obviously if it wasn't stated that the website would not function at all without JS, i.e. leading to web accessibility issues then it is possibly a failing of both parties.

  10. #10
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I would find it hard to believe the client would accept and sign off on the website and pay the developer if he didn't provide what they had specified.
    Nah, it's little different than mom going to a shady shop with a really nice sign to buy a car and getting a shiny slightly-used Yugo (in that marigold colour she loves). She's not a mechanic and doesn't know a good car from a bad car.
    Web design is known as a "lemon market". Clients don't know good from bad unless they are coders themselves... like not knowing if a used car is mechanically sound unless you're a mechanic.

    The difference is, cars have Blue Book prices, and there are consumer bonds who test and check out cars and publish reports for others to read. You don't have to be a mechanic to understand when the consumer bond says "Yugo's suck". There isn't such a thing for web sites.

    Well, and another difference is that while you know right away if the car is broken, clients who don't
    -use a browser other than IE
    -navigate themselves with keyboard
    -know any clients or friends of theirs who are disabled in some special way
    don't realise there's anything wrong or not great with their web sites for long periods of time. When they do get complaints, they're not sure what they mean or what (if anything) to do about them.

    The NYTimes is large enough that some disability-rights group will prolly contact them. But if NYTimes paid a LOT of money for all that, they'll think twice before trying to make any changes. Fixing a Yugo costs money. And if mom doesn't notice, well, it meets all her specifications: it seats 5, has a trunk, manual transmission, and painted marigold. Meets her specs. Isn't a good car.

  11. #11
    From Italy with love silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalon View Post
    I would find it hard to believe the client would accept and sign off on the website and pay the developer if he didn't provide what they had specified.
    [client mode]Javascript? What's that?[/client mode]


  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard rguy84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    The NYTimes is large enough that some disability-rights group will prolly contact them.
    Why? Look at the page again guys. They conviently gave us a Contact Us page, and it auto fills the URL. We can all let them know.

    I guess NYT is saying people with disabilities aren't vegetarian.
    ......... Turkey nom nom nom

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    no turkey day smilies SP??
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  13. #13
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Off Topic:

    Ozzies don't have turkey days

  14. #14
    Non-Member Kalon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xhtmlcoder View Post
    The Web Developer is supposed to be the hired Professional so theoretically and morally they should be informing the client of such possible failings.
    yes that is true, but I don't see any evidence that proves he/she didn't.

    then it would be up to the client to decide whether they want to support non-javascript browsers or not, unless of course they are legally obliged to.

    so as I see it, in this case you are confirming that

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalon View Post
    without knowing who the client and developer were and what the project specifications were we can only speculate until we go

  15. #15
    I meant that to happen silver trophybronze trophy Raffles's Avatar
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    I agree that that page is not well executed for anyone not using a mouse and javascript.

    But once again, don't blame the technology, blame the developer. AJAX and JavaScript are pretty wonderful, but when used wrongly, they can make a right mess. You could say the same about anything.

  16. #16
    Non-Member Kalon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
    But once again, don't blame the technology, blame the developer.
    I disagree

    what happened to innocent until proven guilty?

    I'd like to see the project specifications and I'd like to know whether the developer informed the client of any potential pitfalls in not supporting javascript before passing judgement on anyone.

    I'd also like to know whether it was the client who decided that non javascript browsers don't need to be supported.

    Since the number of non javascript browsers is relatively tiny, it could be the client didn't want to pay any extra costs to support non javascript browsers.

  17. #17
    I meant that to happen silver trophybronze trophy Raffles's Avatar
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    That doesn't mean you disagree with me. You're still not blaming the technology. JavaScript and AJAX are not bad tools. It's the people that use them badly that are to blame. And if the client is completely ignorant to JavaScript, accessibility, usability, etc. then it's the job of the developer to make these things clear and do it properly.

  18. #18
    Non-Member Kalon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
    And if the client is completely ignorant to JavaScript, accessibility, usability, etc. then it's the job of the developer to make these things clear and do it properly.
    I haven't seen anything that proves the developer didn't inform the client of accessibility issues for non javascript browsers.

    If the developer did in fact inform the client, then it is up to the client to decide whether they want to support non javascript browsers or not, especially in the case where there could be extra costs to them in doing so.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalon View Post
    If the developer did in fact inform the client, then it is up to the client to decide whether they want to support non javascript browsers or not, especially in the case where there could be extra costs to them in doing so.
    Okay, let's assume that. My next question is: how would the client feel about none of the content being sent to the browser is in the html document, thus giving google and friends a hard time, if they are even able to find any content at all?

    Javascript and AJAX are both nice, but IMHO there is no excuse to build a website in such a way that (parts of) the main content is not accessible without javascript.
    Add some effects to the content, or show extra content that is not one of the main "selling points" of the website is fine, but don't cripple important parts.

    The best example is probably the FAQ with the effect that when you click a question the answer slides down, and the developers set all answers to display: none, where they could have just as easily let javascript do that onload. That way non JS browsers just see all questions and answers, while JS browsers get that little extra effect.
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  20. #20
    Non-Member Kalon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScallioXTX View Post
    Okay, let's assume that. My next question is: how would the client feel about none of the content being sent to the browser is in the html document, thus giving google and friends a hard time, if they are even able to find any content at all?
    I have no idea how the client actually feels about it. Like you say, let's assume the client was informed of the pitfalls, then my best guess is that due to the relatively tiny number of javascript disabled browsers, the pitfalls is not an issue for them.

    but you would have to contact the client if you need to know the actual answer.

  21. #21
    I meant that to happen silver trophybronze trophy Raffles's Avatar
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    OK, but at the end of the day the fault does not reside with the tools, it lies with the people using them incompetently.

  22. #22
    Non-Member Kalon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
    OK, but at the end of the day the fault does not reside with the tools, it lies with the people using them incompetently.
    nup, still disagree

    it's quite possible the developer was totally competent in building the client's website according to the specifications given to him/her by the client, assuming the client was aware of the pitfalls in not supporting javascript disabled browsers.

    I think we are going round in circles now and all the last 1/2 dozen or so posts have done is prove that

    Original Posted by Moi
    without knowing who the client and developer were and what the project specifications were we can only speculate until we go

  23. #23
    Utopia, Inc. silver trophy
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    You're 100% right Kalon. This discussion has been coming up more and more lately, so I'll start a poll to settle this once and for all
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  24. #24
    I meant that to happen silver trophybronze trophy Raffles's Avatar
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    I see your point. But still... it doesn't mean AJAX and JavaScript are inherently flawed. At some point a human decision was made to ignore the capabilities of progressive enhancement, therefore absolving the tools of any blame. The client is therefore to blame if he/she has been educated as to the pitfalls of the design.

    As a silly little analogy: Just because you can drive a car very fast and kill people with it doesn't make it flawed.

    Or perhaps we can blame the browsers. Should there be a method to easily and seamlessly deliver bells-and-whistles content with a static fallback option? At the moment any decent progressive enhancement relies on taking the static content and then adding the bells and whistles, which can result in an ugly FOUC-style eyesore.

  25. #25
    SitePoint Evangelist Karpie's Avatar
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    I've been in a similar sort of situation to this before:

    - Client finds nice jazzy JS-based carousel/slideshow/whatever and sends it to me saying 'we want this'
    - Me: 'OK, I'll build a nice version that can be used without JS, and then the fancy one on top, to please everyone.'

    There's only ever two responses to that statement:

    1) 'no no don't build it twice, that'll cost us too much money in build time, just do it the fancy way'
    or
    2) 'ew we don't like the basic way, it's horrible, we don't want anyone seeing anything less than fancy, so just put a message saying 'upgrade your browser/enable JS/etc'

    I've seen both, and once I've even built a survey app that worked with/without JS (using PHP), only to be told 'the client doesn't care about non-JS users, so take out all the other parts you wrote, they make the end code too complicated.'

    You can't win sometimes, really.


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