How Many Users Have JavaScript Disabled

by Ruud Hein December 14th, 2010 

percentage of users with JavaScript disabled (USA)

After filtering out automated requests (bots, scrapers, etc.), Yahoo analyzed traffic to their properties and concluded that 0.25% (Brazil) to 2% (USA) of people on the web have JavaScript disabled.

The average hovers around 1.3%.

PEOPLE WITHOUT JAVASCRIPT IN NORTH AMERICA & EUROPE

When 2% of people on the web in North America and Europe have JavaScript turned off they fill

NEW YORK CITY

New York City

TWICE

or

wisconsin

THE ENTIRE U.S. STATE OF WISCONSIN

number of people without javascript compared

What This Means To You

A potentially significant amount of your prospects doesnt use JavaScript " and you will never know.

If your sites functionality relies on JavaScript youll have no clue just how much business youre missing because people have JavaScript turned off.

Popular web analytics tools like Google Analytics rely 100% on JavaScript: they only track people with JavaScript enabled

Your ROI Formula

The return on investment of making your site (also) work without JavaScript is:

(visitors x .02 no JavaScript x % of conversions x avg. sale x avg. profit) " investment

______________________________________________________________________________

investment

For example, if your site has 10.000 visitors per month then there are probably about 200 visitors without JavaScript. A median cross-industry conversion rate is 2.15. So, 2.15% of 200 is 4.3. If your average sale is $60 with a 50% profit margin then youre looking at $120 profit, tabulated over a year makes $1440.

The investment in making your site (also) work without JavaScript depends. If you put it as a requirement in the specs for your next design theres basically no cost as doing unobtrusive JavaScript design (that is JavaScript that leaves your site 100% functional if a visitor has JavaScript disabled) doesnt cost more than doing old-school JavaScript design. On the other hand if you want an issue fixed now then it depends on how complicated fixing that issue is.

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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8 Responses to “How Many Users Have JavaScript Disabled”

  1. Dan Cristo says:

    Ruud,
    I am really glad you posted this. I can't tell you the number of times I've gotten this questions on client calls, and I never have a good answer. I can finally put this one to bed. In fact, I may just talk about this on my video blog. Yes, that's how big this is for me. heh. I'm a geek.

    Dan

  2. Yongwen says:

    Very interesting analysis.

    I believe that it all boils down to how much is the cost of optimizing the site for java script disabled audience.

    If the cost is very low or next to nothing, I believe most site owners would definitely like to have a site that is perfectly functional for all visitors.

    However if there is going to be substantial cost in time or efforts just to optimize for that 2%, i guess i would probably consider whether the costs in dollars and time can be better spent on optimizing for the remaining 98%..

    Just my thoughts..

  3. [...] average 2% of people online have JavaScript disabled. In some markets that can be much higher, in some lower. Certain B2B markets have much less [...]

  4. Ozh says:

    It would be interesting to know about those 2%. Are they tin foil hat paranoids, or are they disabled users on screen reader and alternative devices? I don't mind stopping caring about the first ones, I'd feel more guilty about the others…

  5. Eric says:

    It's good to note what you lose when you don't build a site that can degrade gracefully without JS. However, I'm not convinced that this is enough of an opportunity lost that it needs additional focus.

    "You can't be everything to all people." If users have JS disabled, there's a very good chance they aren't using JS-heavy online systems like Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, and the like … meaning for many of us who work in the Web 2.0 world, they probably aren't our customer to begin with.

    The figures you use to calculate the lost opportunity assume that the 98% of users with JS visiting your site. That just isn't true, and the revenue you lose from not focusing on this group diminishes when you take that into account.

    So yes, there's a lesser cost when you focus on using unobtrusive JS from the beginning. But you'll end up sacrificing essential features for the sake of catering to a tiny subset of users if you take this route.
    .-= Eric recently posted: Open Source Decision Making =-.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Thanks for the comment, Eric.

      I see your point on the cost that a do-over can bring; we recognize that at SEP too and tailor our recommendation in this regard to ROI while leaning towards favoring unobtrusive JS.

      Why?

      Because with unobtrusive JS you *can* be everything to all people. There are no features to sacrifice,especially not essential ones.

      As for tiny subset — this depends pn what kind of site you talk about. For some sites we're talking about 10-20 visitors a month without JavaScript but for other sites the law of large numbers applies and we're talking hundreds to thousands of people.

      Are they all probably not our customer to begin with? Au contraire! Among those without JavaScript are people who want to increase security,privacy or simply speed of browsing — especially on mobile devices.

      Would love to hear more about your side of the argument.

  6. Perkins says:

    As one of the often javascript disabled people, I can give a bit of information about the reasons. Security is one, but if you are using a good browser, like Iceweasel, it isn't very important, since the JS engine won't allow cross site scripting attacks or editing of local files without you approving the script and it being signed. If you want to keep your identity secret, then disabling javascript is generally a good idea, however it is unlikely that paying clients on a conventional website wish to keep their identity that secret. On the other hand, it is generally unwise to leave your back info open in one tab while you go to untrusted sites, since there are a number of cloning attacks that work using unsigned javascript. (I just do all my banking in a different browser instance to avoid that issue, and leave javascript running). The other two common reasons for having it disabled/unavailable have more to do with the user and the internet connection. I live in the middle of no where with high latency high packet loss internet, so ajax heavy pages often fail for me. So I often use the lynx browser or elinks (has basic css and javascript support). These browsers will fail to load ajax pages, which means that I don't have to wait 5 minutes to find out I can't use the page as it tries to load all the support scripts. Also, they often trigger the web server to give me the lite versions of pages, often with less javascript thanks to the mobile users out there. The third reason people use non-javascript browsers is because lynx is still the browser of choice among people who use screen readers or brail TTYs. A brail TTY has difficulty in following CSS layouts, same with screen readers for the sight impaired. If your user base is likely to consist of people who do not see well, and may rely on a screen reader, it is a good idea to make your site degrade to simple CSS and JS free format that makes sense when read aloud.
    (I know I'm posting on an old post, but this is still one of the top hits on the subject on google)

  7. Manuel Schreurs says:

    Interesting analysis.
    I like looking at it from a very neutral point of view.

    My thoughts:
    - Is a margin profit of 50% for online realistic? I think it's more like 20%, or even 10% if you calculate all costs.
    - There's always cost in making things unobstructive, even from the start. Every minute you talk about it, you test it, you write a noscript tag, costs money.
    - As Eric points out, there could be cost (less profit) associated with making your design work without javascript. You might not consider options because they require javascript.
    - As Eric points out, there might be a difference in conversion rate between non-javascript users and javascript users. That depends on your target group. If your sales focusses on people like Perkins, the conversion rate might be higher, if your sales focusses on people that care less about security, the conversion rate might be lower.