Take a Vacation from JavaScript

December 8, 2015

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As an advocate for improving the user experience on web and mobile sites, I read Klint Finley’s recent Wired article with great interest. Finley disabled JavaScript for a week in early November to see how it would affect surfing. By the end of the week, he “dreaded going back to the messy modern web. The experiment left me longing for more control over what actually runs inside my browser.”

Klint, I definitely see your point.

Near-instant page load

When pages load fast, as they did during Finley’s JS-free week, surfing is a blissful experience. JavaScript-laden pages are clunky and cause slow page-load, which often leads to higher abandonment and lower conversion rates. In fact, people visit a website less often if it is slower than a close competitor. And for impatient web users, a one second eye blink is just too long to wait.1

On mobile device browsers, the affect of JavaScript on performance is magnified. When a user is on a 3G or 4G mobile data connection, each additional JavaScript tag request can slow down page-load time by as much as 100ms to 1,000ms (1 second).

Simpler is better

In addition to delivering a faster experience, Finley found that eliminating JavaScript meant his laptop battery lasted longer, and he could browse the web with fewer distractions from ads. “[The experiment] showed me how unnecessary all that web clutter really is and just how easy it is to make it all go away.”

Sounds like now is a good time to take a vacation from JavaScript.

  1”For Impatient Web Users, an Eye Blink Is Just Too Long to Wait,” The New York Times, February 29, 2012

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