I’m currently based in Spain. There is good connectivity here. In fact calling it “broadband” is a fair term. But for some reason, I am constantly getting errors like the one you see above on Facebook. I don’t know what’s causing it, but contrary to the message in the window, I am indeed very much connected to the internet.
AJAX is a cool system as it offers one the ability to grab a snippet of a site and in theory, incur much less bandwidth in making that request, thus speeding up website interactions for those on slower connections. There’s just the problem of latency as well as a great many other issues when it comes to how you actually implement AJAX. Personally, I know how easy it is to think, “Sure, that request is fine. No problems. I never have to worry about it failing.” But in reality you do. Modern web design is sloppy this way and if you don’t chain AJAX events to be dependent on one another, you get results like this. We talked about this a good deal at the AfricaCodeCamp as it isn’t just a good design strategy for African websites, but also a good one for any website.
In Facebook’s defense, at least there actually are error messages, but still, they could do more. I have to hand it to Twitter, as I have far fewer problems with their site from where I am and they know how to make the site degrade properly. For instance, if you try to click on the Sign In link on the main page before all the JavaScript and widgets are loaded, you’ll go to the more basic, non-fancy login page. It’s a small detail, but it improves the user experience. With how much Facebook is copying what Twitter is doing, you’d think they would copy some of these things as well.
Why AJAX isn't so clean