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Fairtrading's Broken Search

The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.
-- Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

The search function on the Queensland Government's Office of Fair Trading website does not work with a standards-compliant browser. The site uses JavaScript in weird ways to emulate a plain html form rather than actually using a plain html form like the one below.

As policy, The Office of Fair Trading follows the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines produced by the World Wide Web Consortium. These Guidelines include a specific recommendation against relying on scripting.

In this case, this was an unfortunate oversight that was corrected when I brought it to their attention.

Correct Use of JavaScript

I'm not against JavaScript - it's a very useful tool for enhancing a website; however, there are many reasons we must ensure websites work without JavaScript:

  • Javascript isn't JavaScript - browsers differ and there's no clear standard,
  • The web browser being used to view the website doesn't support JavaScript at all,
  • JavaScript is disabled, possibly over security concerns or just to avoid intrusive pop-up/go-under ads,
  • The client is behind a firewall that removes JavaScript,

With all these possibilities for failure, why does anyone make a site that does not work at all without JavaScript?

http://www.zwitterion.org/fairtrading/ was last updated by Mark Suter on 2009-06-03