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distraction: bane or content?

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2001 10:12:03 -0500
Message-Id: <200103061452.JAA5201773@smtp2.mail.iamworld.net>
To: "WAI" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Many of the things we enjoy in life: jokes, chocolate, etc., operate by
injecting a subliminal amount of pain or trouble.  For most people, the
attention-getting devices used in Ads or to provide stimulation on websites
at this tolerable level.  They tickle your attention circuits, but don't
your train of thought.

On the other hand, not all people are 'most people.'  Some people have a lower
threshold for distraction than others.  And this condition can be a disability
if they can't manage the quiescence vs. distraction level in their
environments.  Crossing Times Square one can't always manage this.  What is
done in private between a consenting person and their computer should be more
manageable than that.

It would appear that the User Agent guidelines will call for User Agents to
give users override control to still squirmy pages.  So the content guideline
in this area might be something like the guidelines about color.  "Do not rely
on motion alone to draw attention to a featured element."

If, for a given individual, the advertising is so distracting that the content
the user sought is blocked from access, the advertising will be
counter-productive.  The user will hate the page and the advertiser by
association.  This is not what the advertiser wants.  The advertiser's
in the animation device is predicated on the premise that this level of motion
will strike the right balance in the user's attention-paying profile.

We need a device-independent statement of the balance of attention between
the user wants to notice and what the sponsor wants the user to notice.  This
balance of attention getting is one of the content characteristics that needs
to transform gracefully as we morph the content into different forms for
different interaction spaces and users.  Still-frame presentation is one of
media morphs.  Is your content prepared to be effective in this channel?


At 01:00 PM 2001-03-06 +0200, Lisa Seeman wrote:
>--Hi, I have started looking through the minutes, and I would like to
>explain the intent of 2.2.
>People have complain/ commented to me that they have trouble reading and
>concentrating on a site were there are animations and distractions. Theses
>comments are of course form people with ADD/ADHD. The problem
>is>concentrating or following and not interaction.
> The wording has been carefully chosen - "minimize" and not "do not use" so
>that you can have alert boxes or other necessary distractions.
>However imagine an ADHD high school student trying to research a complex
>topic when there are ants crawling across the screen. Every time the ants
>come in his field of vision, he will forget what he is doing and have to
>start again. The designer may think that this will help make the site appeal
>to teenagers. But in reality many students will have to take medication
>before using it. An extreme example, but many animations have a similar
>Defiantly, at least, priority three.
>>2.2  Minimize content that interferes with the user's ability to
>>> * Daniel - why not in guideline 3?
>>> * Kynn:  Daniel didn't like where we split hairs
>>> * Kynn rewrite to make it fit better with guideline 2
>>> * WC: already covered?
>>> * Kynn: change concentrate to interact?  The user's ability to
>>>do what the user is doing.
>>> * Aaron: delete this?
>>> * CS: I like the idea of deleting this.  Point of an ad is to
>>> * Kynn: there are times when it's important to distract the
>>>user (alerts)
>>> * Action Item Kynn:  work on this
>>> * Action Item CS: give feedback
Received on Tuesday, 6 March 2001 09:52:49 UTC

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