Unintentionally Blank

Phil Nash on the Internet, Web Standards and Accessibility

The Nationwide Takes A Step Forward

Apr 22, 2008

by Phil Nash

It seems like a long time since I wrote about the importance of making websites work without JavaScript, a post that uncovered the Nationwide building society locking customers without JavaScript enabled out of their site with nothing but a blank page to look at. The post elicited a response from Ian Lloyd from the Nationwide web team, saying that they would look into the issue.

While it has been a long time before I noticed any difference, an online banking site can't be changed up that quickly, in the last month or so I did notice a difference to the site. Jumping immediately to my "disable JavaScript" button I proceeded to try to sign on to the online banking section. I was met with a message:

Nationwide's Internet Banking requires JavaScript and cookies to be enabled. It appears that your browser does not support JavaScript, or you have disabled it. Please re-enable JavaScript or try accessing this site using a different browser.

The Nationwide have taken the first step towards accessibility for those without JavaScript enabled, a <noscript> element prints out the above text. While I don't claim any knowledge of the stringent security measures that banks must take, I am still quite sure that JavaScript should not be necessary to log on. To make sure of this, I checked with my other online bank, the HSBC. I was able to log on without JavaScript enabled.

Small Steps

While a <noscript> element really is the least anyone can do by notifying users that they can't use the site without JavaScript, it is a start. As I said above, changing an online banking system is not a trivial matter, so I appreciate what the Nationwide have done so far. Let's hope that this change can inspire further work at the Nationwide, and anywhere else where JavaScript is required.

Unintentionally Blank is Phil Nash's thoughts on web development from 2006-2008. Any code or opinions may be out of date.