Browser statistics on JavaScript disabled [closed]

Browser statistics on JavaScript disabled [closed]

I am having a hard time collecting publically available statistics on the percentage of web users that browse with JavaScript disabled.
Yahoo has published data from 2010 and R. Reid published data from 2009 (picked from a site he had access to).
The findings from Yahoo were rather interesting at that time:

We took a combination of access logs and beacon data (previously
included in the page) and filtered out all of the automated requests,
leaving us with a set of requests we could confirm were sent by actual
users. This data, which is completely anonymous, gave us a good
indication of traffic patterns in several countries.
After crunching the numbers, we found a consistent rate of
JavaScript-disabled requests hovering around 1% of the actual visitor
traffic, with the highest rate being roughly 2 percent in the United
States and the lowest being roughly 0.25 percent in Brazil. All of the
other countries tested showed numbers very close to 1.3 percent.

This is about what I could find so far. But since this data is getting old, I wonder what the percentages are today.
I also looked at Statcounter, which seems to be the only company left to still openly publish browser statistics. But they do not publish data about JavaScript. I know that W3schools also publish stats, but since the target is aimed at developers, this data is extremely biased and therefore not interesting for me. (it has to be representative for ordinary users).
I, therefore, ask you to provide:

links to any open, freely available statistics which touches this area
Your own stats, preferably from larger sites with do not target developers

Solutions/Answers:

Solution 1:

Give the basic info, with a clear route for how to go further – update your browser!

I think sacrificing functionality for 99% of users to accommodate 1% is sheer bloody mindedness.

Sure, it is possible to allow for non-javascript enabled content for every aspect of a website, plus provide the optimal experience – but the budget is going to sky-rocket for the build.

There’s some seriously awesome stuff going down with Javascript which actually makes sites far more accessible! – where do we draw the line here?

“Sorry, your computer is too old and slow to render this website.” OR

“Sorry, 99.9% of the planet, we’ve presented you with a sub-optimal 1993 experience because 0.1% of you have outdated tech”

I don’t buy the ‘1%’ is important argument – if someone Really wants to access a website, they’ll find a way – plus those instances where companies are forced to use, say, ie7 with javascript turned off – heck, they probably aren’t allowed to browse anything but the corporate intranet anyway!

Time to get off this dumb old idea you need to have a non-javascript option for everything on your website, it really is an outdated concept.

Solution 2:

Discussions

Most active and extensive discussions on StackExchange sites on this topic:

Additional Links

Stats

You’re right… These are pretty hard to come to. Could actually only find the ones you mentioned, the YDN 2010 article being referenced quite often.

I guess you could also use a traffic tracking and analysis suite to verify these stats on your own, if you have a site with sufficient traffic and the relevant demographic you are aiming for.

Personal Thoughts

In my personal opinion, it’s fair enough to require some very specific areas of a site to require JavaScript, but you should try as much as possible to provide an alternative if that’s the case. For the rest of the site, I consider that, especially for government and educational websites, you have a duty towards minorities like disabled people and visually-impaired people to make the web readable and usable for them as for any other user.

Solution 3:

These stats are from one site but its a good, up-to-date number and also considers JavaScript disabled vs. JavaScript ‘not received or run’.

https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2013/10/21/how-many-people-are-missing-out-on-javascript-enhancement/

In the interests of link-rot, the number was 1.1% with 0.9% of that where it was enabled in the browser but otherwise not run, due to reasons guessed to be things like corporate content filters, mobile network errors, and even page-preloading.

If we could find out what constitutes that 0.9% and how much is not a human sitting at an intentionally JS-disabled browser, then the effort and cost of investing in progressive enhancement/graceful degradation could be weakened.

In any case, it looks to be a tiny proportion.

Personally, my own opinion is that in 2014, it isn’t worth the overhead to support this minority. I think its a bit like designing a door handle with consideration for the small minority of people have their hands full and need to use their foot, or just don’t like touching door handles with their hands. Ugh, yucky JavaScript.

Although progressive enhancement is dead to me, I do think JS should be used sparingly, unless its a single-page app.

Solution 4:

Since I ran into the same problem while looking for reliable javascript usage statistics, our company decided to collect its own data on the topic and I just thought some might find our findings interesting.

We serve largely german customers in all demographic areas with convenience services. About 20k page views a day, about 300k contracts signed online a year. We tracked all customers that signed a contract online while using our non-javascript version of the site.

We recently invested a large amount of time into non-js optimization and wanted to know whether the effort paid off. Turned out that exactly zero of our customers chose to sign a contract while having js disabled, while there are about 3% of non-js visits on our homepage. Thus I think that most of the traffic is generated by bots.

In conclusion, investing in non-js optimization was an utter failure for us, since it had no impact on our sales. Could be that there are some real people who choose to disable javascript but none of them seemed to be interested in buying stuff on the internet.

Feel free to draw your own conclusions

Solution 5:

Such statistics can only ever be useful for a specific site, and even then, there are cases hard to interpret:

  • What about users that execute some, but not all scripts of a site?
  • What about users that don’t execute scripts of a site most of the time, but occasionally execute all/some?

I have JavaScript disabled on almost all sites I visit. Sometimes I allow JS temporary, sometimes not at all. Sometimes I only allow some scripts temporary. Some scripts are allowed permanently, some scripts are disallowed permanently. Right now, typing this answer, some scripts on SO are blocked, some are allowed. How should statistics count me?

Other factors to consider:

  • Sites that require JS, even if only for some parts, can only gather biased statistics, as they have probably already put off the no-JS visitors in the past.
  • If your site is JS-free, you gather statistics, and then start to add JS, blacklisters (which had JS enabled before) might block (some of) your scripts.
  • No-JS visitors are probably more sensitive to privacy, so it’s likely that they are taking other measures in addition … they might look like bots in site statistics 😉
  • Site topic (what is your audience like and interested in?), browser stats (NoScript is one of the most popular Firefox add-ons.), country (The German Federal Office for Information Security strongly recommends¹ all citizens to install NoScript.) and also available competition on the market (if your site is unique and I really want to use it, I’ll allow scripts; otherwise, I go to your competitor) might have a strong influence.

¹ The BSI link is 404 now. Not sure if this recommendation is still somewhere on their site. For reference, here is the last snapshot of that page in the Internet Archive.

Solution 6:

The statistics differ between different countries

http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/stats-no-javascript.html

If you require javascript on your website then you will lose portion of your sales. Also some mobile devices are very slow when processing javascript and people will simply leave your website because browsing experience will be too slow.