Effects & accessibility

Effects can be really beautiful, and they can push a design to that extra level—but often they’re also a hinderance.

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Effects & accessibility

Effects can affect

  • Animations can be a distraction
  • Flashing images can cause seizures
  • A contrast levels work differently for everybody
  • Some of you are using dark-mode, some light-mode

We each have preferences—let’s help our users get the content the most efficient way for them.

Animated GIFs

Never use an animated GIF—ever.

  • They cannot be stopped
    • If there’s too much flashing it could induce seizures
    • They could distract users from their task
  • They are huge files & terrible for performance

Instead, use a MP4: stoppable, pausable, streamable.

Autoplay

Don’t autoplay anything on your website.

  • It’s distracting
  • It’s bandwidth hogging
  • It’s poor accessibility

Thankfully most browsers have features to prevent autoplay now—which I have enabled.

Prefers colour scheme

Some of you prefer the dark colour scheme—some prefer the light colour scheme.

Accomodate that in your CSS.

CSS
main {
  background-color: #f2f2f2;
}

@media (prefers-color-scheme: dark) {
  main {
    background-color: #111;
  }
}

Prefers reduced motion

Animations are distracting & annoying to lots of people’s concentration—or cause more serious problems.

Accomodate that in your CSS.

CSS
.ball {
  animation: spin 1s infinite;
}

@media (prefers-reduced-motion) {
  .ball {
    animation: none;
  }
}

Other preferences

Upcoming media features worth knowing:

  • prefers-contrast — Determine if a high-contrast interface is requested
  • prefers-reduced-transparency — Determine if a reduced use of transparency is requested
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Effects & accessibility

Effects can be really beautiful, and they can push a design to that extra level—but often they’re also a hinderance.