Re: Animated GIFs and accessibility guidelines

in answer to your question of whether or not we can find the skip
link, yes.  I can click on it but for some reason as with many
internal links, using jfw 3.7 and ie5.5sp1 I become disoriented as to
where I am on the page when I follow them.

----- Original Message -----
To: <>
Sent: February 15, 2001 11:52 AM
Subject: Re: Animated GIFs and accessibility guidelines

Animated GIFs shouldn't be a problem, since they can be stopped by any
browser that can display them (at least among the major browsers - I'm
not sure if this is true for WebTV or other "internet appliances").

On the Bobby site, listing the sponsors wouldn't be appropriate for
the ALT text, but would be appropriate for a LONGDESC. The designers
may have decided that since the image is a link to detailed
information about their sponsors, that wasn't necessary. I'd say it's
a judgement call, and an defensible choice. However, running Bobby
against that page, in the Priority 1 User Checks it says:

   "Do you have a descriptive (D) link in addition to LONGDESC?"

which - regardless of conformance with the WAI guidelines - suggests
that the site doesn't actually implement what the Bobby designers
consider to be "best practices." There are several other areas, such
as in the extensive use of tables for layout, where the site appears
to move away from theoretical ideals. On the other hand, the site
seems to work, which to me is by far the most important concern. The
WAI guidelines, are, after all, guidelines. They're intended to help
people develop accessible sites, but if the focus becomes adherence to
every checkpoint, instead of the overall goal of accessibility,
they've failed in their purpose.

Another question related to that site - they've got a link to skip the
navigation stuff and go directly to the content, which is great. The
link, however, is a transparent gif, with the ALT text providing the
description of how it's to be used. Will screen readers currently in
use pick this up properly?

>>> Brian Kelly <> 02/15/01 04:08AM >>>
Guideline 7 at
"Ensure that moving, blinking, scrolling, or auto-updating objects or
may be paused or stopped."
"Until user agents allow users to freeze moving content, avoid
movement in

How does this apply to animated GIFs?

Does it apply, for example, to the animated sponsorship ads at, for

I understood that movement on screens could cause screen readers to
their focus.  Does this happen with animated GIFs?  If so, is this a

Also, while looking at the Bobby page, the alt text for the GIF simply
"Scrolling list of sponsors, without mentioning their names (IBM,
etc.).  Again does this conform to the WAI guidelines?

Like Nick, I don't want to pick on the Bobby site or the CAST staff,
but it
is a Web site that those with interests in accessibility will look at.


Brian (hoping this isn't an FAQ)

Brian Kelly
University of Bath
Phone: (+44) 1225 323943

Received on Thursday, 15 February 2001 13:22:33 UTC