Al Jazeera article pages are IE-only

Al Jazeera, the Arabic news channel, introduced an English-language Web site several weeks ago, after the United States invaded Iraq. Repeated hacking and DNS failures kept the site initially inaccessible. The site returned, but it still only works for readers using Internet Explorer.

The problem is on the site’s article pages, where all of the body text is buried inside a hidden INPUT field, then copied into a DIV with some Internet Explorer-only JavaScript. Readers using Netscape-family browsers or Internet Explorer 4 and anyone with JavaScript turned off will only see articles’ headlines, not their text. What’s more, anyone without JavaScript won’t even get to any articles, because there’s a ridiculous JavaScript-only redirect on the home page.

There is absolutely no valid excuse for coding this browser-specific and, frankly, terrible. Content must be placed where it belongs, not inserted with JavaScript. Al Jazeera’s Rube Goldberg contraption may indeed work for most American readers, but for many others it’s no more intelligible than the Arabic site.

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This page last modified on Wednesday, May 11, 2005 at 8:29 am