How many users have JavaScript disabled?

Well-designed web sites and applications always keep in mind the people who have JavaScript disabled. The whole concept of progressive enhancement is built around the idea that the content of the page should be accessible without JavaScript (or CSS), even if more advanced functionality is available.

The “JavaScript-disabled” experience is a part of every discussion — but how often do people actually visit your site with JavaScript disabled? We had the same question last year as we were doing some analytics on the Yahoo! homepage, and so decided to measure just how many requests were from browsers with JavaScript disabled.

As with most techniques for web data collection, we first had to determine how much “real” traffic was coming in. Every web site is constantly visited by search engine crawlers, bots, and spam, and the Yahoo! network is no exception.

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.

![Percentage of users with JavaScript disabled, by country. United States: 2.06%, United Kingdom: 1.29%, France: 1.46%, Spain: 1.28%, Brazil: 0.26%](http://ydn.zenfs.com/blogs/1/js_disabled.jpg)

It is important to point out that Yahoo! sites in different countries receive differing amounts of traffic from varying locations, so making generalizations around user populations is difficult. Also, U.S.-based Yahoo! sites receive a significant amount of traffic from outside of the U.S., so that number is influenced just as much by visitors from outside of the U.S. as it is from visitors inside.

There are a couple of takeaways from this data. First, the overwhelming majority of users has JavaScript-enabled browsers and can therefore take advantage of all of the enhanced functionality and dynamic interfaces developers and designers love to create. From a planning standpoint, it makes sense to spend more time on the experience that the largest numbers of users receive, knowing that your time investment is well worth it.

The second takeaway is that JavaScript-disabled users exist. While 2% of U.S. visitors may not seem like a lot, keep in mind that over 300 million users visit the Yahoo! homepage each month. That means 6 million users visit each month without the benefit of JavaScript. So even though it’s worth spending your time on the JavaScript-enabled version of the site, there are still a non-trivial amount of users out there who won’t be able to use it.

While the percentage of visitors with JavaScript disabled seems like a low number, keep in mind that small percentages of big numbers are also big numbers.

We will likely always have some portion of the population who, for one reason or another, has JavaScript disabled. The best approach to serve the world’s Internet users is still progressive enhancement, ensuring that each user is capable of receiving the best possible user experience based on browser capabilities.