Andrey (azangru) wrote,

The web site of 18f — a digital agency within the US government which, if I remember rightly, is famous for fixing the public disaster that the Obamacare website reportedly was at its launch — has this visual annoyance. When a user visits their site, they will notice something flickering in the top of the page:

That flicker is due to a banner that they have in the static html and hide with javascript. The javascript, obviously, needs to load first. This takes some non-negligible amount of milliseconds, and is enough to cause the flicker:

To me, this is an embarrassment. I can understand why they might not have wanted to do it the other way round, i.e. to ship a hidden banner to the browser and to let javascript expand it when the user clicks on the link; that would have excluded the users whose browsers don't run javascript (although how many of such mythical paranoid and self-crippling creatures there actually are in the wild, I don't know). But they could have inlined the javascript that closes the banner into their html — that would have run instantaneously. Even better, they could have used some widely known entry-level CSS kung fu to show and hide the banner with CSS alone, without any need for javascript at all. That they haven't done so, even on their own site which they should have full control over, is... saying something.

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