Javascript, A Requirement?

I had to go to the FedEx website to track a package this week, and I was pretty disappointed. While, I was able to track my package, I was surprised to see that the little tracking box was built in Flash. You can see the exact box that I am talking about in the image that follows.

FedEx Tracking Screenshot

So I thought, whatever it’s done in Flash, I’m sure they have an HTML equivalent if someone does not have the Flash plugin installed or if they have Javascript disabled. Boy was I wrong…

Some Screenshots

Below is a screenshot of the page when Javascript is enabled:

FedEx Screenshot with Javascript Enabled

Now, here is what the page looks like when Javascript is disabled:

FedEx Screenshot with Javascript Enabled

Jesus, it looks like the page exploded. Not only does the tracking box go away, but the page looks completely awful.

I know, I know, you are saying, “but everyone has Javascript enabled and a Flash plugin installed”. Ah, I beg to differ, approximately 4% of users have Javascript disabled. Yeah that looks like a small number, but when you are huge company like FedEx, that turns out to be a lot of people.

Honestly, how hard is it to have an HTML alternative to the little Flash tracking box? A textbox and a button, how complicated!

It’s pathetic that huge companies are still making terrible decisions like this on their web site. When will they learn?