W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > July to September 2001

Re: guideline 7.1 about screen flickering (fwd)

From: gregory j. rosmaita <oedipus@hicom.net>
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001 23:07:05 -0400
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Cc: <andrew_kirkpatrick@wgbh.org>
KB: For examples, advertisers _want_ to distract you from doing other
things.  To them it -is- a good thing that banner ads draw your
attention -- why else are they used?  The purpose of the banner ad
_is_ to distract the user, or else you don't use a banner ad at

KB: Sorry if these harsh realities bother some folks, but the "intent of
the author" is for that there animated gif to "distract" someone.
That is its function in the design.  And the author -should- retain
the ability to decide which components of the page will actively
try to attract attention.

GJR: no one's denying this, just saying if the means used to capture the
user's attention are potentially harmful, then those implementing them
should be made aware of the possible rammifications of their actions...
we're not a legal body -- we can't "outlaw" or "enjoin" anyone or
anything...  we can ask that content developers/implementers at least
consider our recommendations and the medical evidence -- and EO, through the
policies page
will keep content developers apprised of any pertinent local laws and
regulations which may impact upon the implementer's decision...

[speaking of implementing, kudos to andrew kirkpatrick of WGBH/NCAM who, in
response to this thread on w3c-wai-ig slapped together a very illustrative
resource, which is described at:
and which can be accessed at:

as far as whether or not we can state, either in good faith or good
conscience, that the "until user agent" clause of 7.1 is obsolete, from the
varied reports of UA control over the animation, i'm not convinced that we
can actually say that they do, unless everyone resubmits their "i got it to
stop" reports with detailed system and user agent information, including all
specialized settings (deviations from default) and a list of all installed
plugins...  which is the reason why making "simple" test pages is extremely
difficult -- it is extremely important to take into account all of the
conditions which determine the rendering of what the user agent guidelines
refer to as "conditional content"

advertisers use distraction as part of their arsenal because they want to
escape what i call the "new yorker syndrome" -- the ability of a significant
portion of the population to disassociate the gutter ads that run along the
edges of the bulk of the magazine's pages from the magazine's content...
when i was able to visually process print, the only time i ever paid any
attention to the advertisements in the new yorker was when i was, er,
indisposed, and only had recourse to copies i had already read from front to

obviously, when the advertisements aren't consciously processed, they're
removed from the reader's perceptual field, allowing the reader to process
only the articles ...

once the their perceptual field, allowing them to read articles without
consciously processing any of the advertisements...
i was able to what, in retrospect, i realize were highly intrusive ads never
prevented me from

just plowing through , but i do know some people far more intelligent than i
who simply could not follow an article once the rows of advertisements
appeared -- it was simply too distracting -- for some it was their attention
that wandered; for others, it was a physical reaction to certain types of
content or combinations of colors...  i have a friend who quite literally
suffers from "captured eye syndrome" -- obviously, i don't know the clinical
term, but when he encounters certain combinations of shapes and/or colors,
he literally can't take his eyes off of them -- nothing else on the page is
perceivable, save for whatever it is that has captured his attention, which
may explain why he decided to pursue a career (the law) whose professional
literature is almost utterly devoid of illustrations, or at least usually or
was 13 years ago when i spent a lot of time as a student of medieval history
in the university's law library...

one thing that we should get straight before we carry this conversation any
further is that there is a huge difference between a site's content and the
advertisements that it displays -- the most common complaint i've heard from
those who are responsible for web portals is that they have very limited
control over the content that fills those precious bits of virtual real
estate on their pages -- a situation which is exacerbated when the
advertisements are served to the portal by a third-party clearinghouse via
scripts -- in that case, the content creator not only ceded a portion of the
portal's real estate to an advertiser, it has ceded control over the quality
of the code used to insert the advertisement into the rendered document...

but we're not speaking of an advertisment, per se, as i understand this
particular case -- it is a case of one organization seeking to link to a
resource on another, related, organization's web site...
Received on Thursday, 26 July 2001 23:06:10 UTC

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