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Re: Animated GIFs and accessibility guidelines

Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2001 10:17:48 -0500
Message-Id: <saa367e4.015@EEOC.GOV>
To: robneff@home.com, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
No, I don't have a list. With Netscape and Mozilla on Windows and Linux/Unix platforms, hitting the Esc key does the trick (or "Stop Animations" under the "View" menu). Esc seems to work for IE as well. With Netscape on a Mac, it's whatever keystroke stops loading the page - after the page is loaded, it works for stopping animations (I rarely use a Mac, so I'm not sure of the keystrokes involved). On both Windows and MacOS, IE also allows you to turn animated GIFs off completely in the "Preference" or "Internet Options" settings (look under "Content" or "Advanced"). Opera also has an option in its "Preferences", at least under Linux (I don't have a recent version of Opera for Windows).

So, in terms of allowing animated GIFs to be stopped, all major browsers seem to be OK. Of course, as has been pointed out here, there's still a problem of those GIFs that provide information that way. But I don't see any real difference between an animated GIF and a static one, or another form of multimedia content - reasonable alternatives should always be provided.

>>> "Robert Neff" <robneff@home.com> 03/04/01 12:49PM >>>

do you have a list of 'how to stop' animated browsers with different web

----- Original Message -----
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Thursday, 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
> >>> Brian Kelly <b.kelly@ukoln.ac.uk> 02/15/01 04:08AM >>>
> Guideline 7 at
> http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/ 
> says
> "Ensure that moving, blinking, scrolling, or auto-updating objects or
> may be paused or stopped."
> and
> "Until user agents allow users to freeze moving content, avoid movement in
> pages."
> How does this apply to animated GIFs?
> Does it apply, for example, to the animated sponsorship ads at, for
> http://www.cast.org/bobby/ 
> I understood that movement on screens could cause screen readers to lose
> their focus.  Does this happen with animated GIFs?  If so, is this a
> concern?
> 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
> is a Web site that those with interests in accessibility will look at.
> Thanks
> Brian (hoping this isn't an FAQ)
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> Brian Kelly
> University of Bath
> BA2 7AY
> Email: B.Kelly@ukoln.ac.uk 
> Phone: (+44) 1225 323943
Received on Monday, 5 March 2001 10:22:08 UTC

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