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JavaScript Alert - Every Web Master Running JavaScript Should Know This

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David Malia
July 05, 2006

David Malia
David Malia is a 20 year computer veteran with a fascination in web page usability offering web page design, graphic design, and web application programming. "Web pages designed for the real web - not the ideal web, because that's where your customers are." http://RationalWebDesign.com

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Every web master running JavaScript should be aware of the HTML level tag

<NOSCRIPT></NOSCRIPT>. Many web sites these days are running Javascript in order to have fancy drop down menus. If the surfer has Javascript turned off, those menus can disappear entirely, leaving the surfer with the belief that he has stumbled upon an unfinished web site that only has a home page and no other pages. A web site that has rich content and many pages may seem to have only one page! I've seen it happen. The surfer will probably be clueless as to what has occurred and will hit the back arrow on his browser and will go elsewhere to obtain the information/product.

The authoritative w3schools.com web site reports an 11% rate of surfers that are browsing with Javascript turned off in January 2005. Because of virus scares, and the advice of companies like Microsoft, that rate is increasing. If most of your web site 'disappears' for 11% of the browsers that load your home page, doesn't that translate into a rough loss of 11% of your business sales?

Fortunately there are some very simple things you can do to remedy the situation. The HTML level tag

<NOSCRIPT></NOSCRIPT> is activated when a browser with Javascript turned off visits the page. Whatever HTML code you put between those tags will appear when Javascript is turned off and will show nothing when it is turned on.

In the case of Javascript drop down menus, the simplest fix you can do is to go to the place in your HTML source code where the Javascript drop down menus would display and add this code:

<NOSCRIPT>Javascript is turned off in your browser. You need Javascript turned on in your browser to use the menu systems of this web site.</NOSCRIPT>

If Javascript is turned off, that code would show a message in red warning the user that turning on Javascript is necessary, and optionally might link to a page explaining how to do that on different browsers. Small fix to potentially increase sales by 11%!

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