Animation in the user agent user interface

An article "Why iOS 7 is making some users sick" in The Guardian this week (see References below) highlighted the issues faced by people with vestibular disorders, who can experience "intense nausea, dizziness and vertigo" triggered by animations on their mobile devices. My first thought was that UAAG20 already handled this by allowing the user to turn off animations, but on rereading it I find that's not the case: UAAG20 only requires the user be able to turn off animations *in content*, not those that are part of the user agent user interface. In fact, the only references to animation are in Guideline 2.11 - Provide control of *content* that may reduce accessibility.

I think that's a major oversight; I believe UAAG should have a success criteria that requires that users be able to avoid animation in the user agent user interface.

Obviously this is not only about people with vestibular disorders, but anyone who has difficulties with animations in content could presumably have the same difficulties with animations in the user interface (see examples, see the example of Alessandro under 2.11.5, Stop/Pause/Resume Time-Based Media).

Thus I propose two things: first, add an SC or modify an existing SC to require allowing the user to prevent animation in the user agent user interface; and second, add an example to at least one existing SC that would describe the impact on a user with a vestibular disorder.

As for the new SC, one place it could go would be in Guideline 2.10 (Help users avoid flashing that could cause seizures). Because the SC in this section are already about the user agent user interface, we could broaden its title from just flashing to flashing and animation, e.g. "Guideline 2.10, Help users avoid flashing and animation". We could then add an SC like the following:

    2.10.x  Allow avoiding animation: The user can disable any animations that are part of the user agent user interface. All information is available through means that do not require the use of animation. (Level A)

    Intent of Success Criterion 2.10.x:

    Users with sensory, attentional, cognitive, or vestibular impairments can find that animations cause distraction, disorientation, nausea, dizziness or vertigo. If the user agent presents any such movies or animated effects, it should provide a global setting that allows the user to disable them, and doing so should not cause the loss of functionality or information.

    Examples of Success Criteria 2.10.x:

    * Allesandro finds it impossible to ignore visual changes. Unnecessary animations make it very difficult for him to read or interact with other content on the screen. When he's reading an article on a newspaper website and finds an animated icon in the browser's notification area distracting, he goes to the browser's settings dialog and chooses the option to disable browser animations.

    * Rachel has a vestibular disorder that causes her to experience dizziness when she sees certain types of videos or animations. Her web browser smoothly scrolls the window every time she presses the pages up or down, and this simulated motion can make her dizzy or nauseous, so she adjusts the browser's user preference options to turn off smooth scrolling, so that the browser effectively redraws the contents of the window each time.

    * Guideline 2.11 - Provide control of content that may reduce accessibility
    * "Why iOS 7 is making some users sick",
    * Vestibular Disorders Association,

Add to Examples of Success Criteria 2.11.3 (Execution Toggle):

    * Rachel has a vestibular disorder that causes her to experience dizziness when she sees certain types of videos or animations. She wants to order theatre tickets, but unfortunately the web site displays an animated background that every few seconds slides out the background image and slides another into its place, and this animation makes Rachel severely uncomfortable. Therefore she clicks a button on the browser's toolbar to temporarily disable scripts on this page, which causes the animation to stop.


Received on Sunday, 29 September 2013 21:14:22 UTC