A Shrewd Plan

Dear Web Site Designer,

I use Firefox and NoScript. That I mention NoScript likely angers you.

I allow JavaScript only for a handful of sites. My reason is JavaScript is a tool for malevolent behavior. A majority of the browser exploits I read about, possibly as high as 90%, are possible only when enabling JavaScript.

JavaScript is used commonly for data mining and tracking. Perhaps you are not such a person, but NoScript users are difficult to convince otherwise.

Tin foil hats and all that.

No, disabling JavaScript does not cripple my web surfing experience.

Using JavaScript promotes bloat and wastes bandwidth.

The result is often a person who disables JavaScript cannot view your web site without enabling JavaScript. Perhaps your reputation and intent is above ground, but I am annoyed that I need to enable JavaScript to view your web site. People who disable JavaScript and do not know your reputation are likely to just skip the site. Which is what I do much of the time.

The acronym FOAD seems to ring a bell.

I might have to temporarily enable JavaScript for your web site top domain to view the page. Otherwise visiting the site results in a broken spinning widget in the middle of the page.

Typically I won’t bother with JavaScript. Instead I disable the web page CSS. You see, all I want to view is the information. I am not interested in bling or your skewered concept of web design.

NoScript functions by using the tool’s popup menu to show all sites linked to that page that uses scripts. When using the popup menu I notice you are using Wordpress. I probably could trace IP addresses to discover whether you are using Wordpress on your own server or a popular Wordpress hosting site. Doesn’t really matter because I see you are using Wordpress.

Wordpress is designed with dependencies on Google. Wordpress uses Google fonts and icons, which are subtle tools used by the Google folks to track users. Each instance of a Google font or icon is linked to Google servers.

Wordpress also uses JavaScript libraries again linked to Google servers.

JavaScript allows for digging deep into a visitor’s computer to create a browser fingerprint.

More tin foils hats.

Usually to view your new web site I need only enable JavaScript for your top level domain. Often I do not need to enable JavaScript for the Wordpress URLs. The result is a crippled display but is at least viewable. If I do that I see a typical smart phone web site design, which is common these days with Wordpress themes.

Smart phone designs are great for smart phones but generally leave much to be desired on general purpose computer displays.

One challenge with these types of themes is the limited viewing area. The theme you are using allows me to see only about two-thirds of the page. Some themes only allow viewing about one-third of the page. The remainder of the page remains stationary. Stupid overlays. There are work-arounds. On my desktop computer with a 19” monitor this might be bearable. On my T400 laptop with a 14” 1280x800 screen I feel as though I am bending over trying to view my backside.


Oh, I forgot. You design web pages on 40” monitors. You never notice the cramped web page.

Or small font sizes.

On your web site there is a continual movement of page elements. This is distracting and annoying to many users. Shades of 1992 with blinking text.

Then there are the pull-down menus. When inadvertently moving the mouse pointer across these menus they pop down and interfere with viewing content. Distracting and annoying.

You argue that this kind of “modern” design is required for mobile compatibility. Something the Google folks conjured up to threaten alleged page rankings.

Or perhaps you are a lemming and just follow the crowd.

The Google ploy to demand mobile compatibility is simple but deceptive. Those people develop Android, which is used on many devices. From the beginning Android was developed with data mining and tracking in mind. Unlike general purpose computers, generally Android devices are not easily rootable or configurable. A design well suited for data mining and tracking. Forget the red herring fanboyism about running on a Linux kernel. Android is a tool and mechanism deployed by the Google folks for this sole purpose. What some people might call a loss leader product. Threatening lower search engine rankings for non mobile compatible sites is a shrewd way of promoting data mining and tracking.

Slow boiling water and frogs. More tin foil hats.

Not that this matters much, but my simplistic blog passes the Google mobile test. The site is completely static. No cookies, no JavaScript, no Flash, no ads, no tracking. Just a blog.

Did I mention the acronym FOAD?

Posted: Category: Commentary, Usability Tagged: General

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