Vestibular Disorders and UI Animation with Greg Tarnoff

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I once ran a screencast where I would demo code and interview some of my favorite people doing new and unusual things with interactive storytelling and web animation. But I stopped recording them when the time I put in wasn’t helping me connect with more people. My audience was not growing.

Then a few weeks back, I recorded one more episode with Greg Tarnoff, who has a vestibular disorder, the dreaded V-word that vexes all web animation enthusiasts. I wanted to know more about this set of disorders and how people like Greg view the fantastic, moving worlds we’re starting to build again online.

Are there ways we can accommodate the sizable minority of users who have these disorders? Can we be responsible with animation now that it’s coming into its own as a front-end tool for designing the Web? Will we make the same mistakes we made with Flash? Is it all or nothing?

We want to do all the cool, interactive things, the parallax, the moving backgrounds, the motion design that sizzles and soars. Sometimes it can feel like making a site accessible means taking all these exciting things and dumping them into the trash. What’s the point in pushing the Web forward if we’re making sites that could be microfiche for all their supposed interactivity?

But I truly believe animation is good for the bulk of users. I believe that the interactive Web should exist. But we’re going to have to have some serious discussions in this community about how we make this happen without making the Web unusable.

Fortunately, serious discussions are something we’re good at here.


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