It’s time to know your rights!

If you have ADHD, and you come across a website or app that is playing an animation (video or gif, or any other type), and you live in the US (you don’t need citizenship), you can complain to your government that someone is breaking the law and violating your rights.

Yes, you could just use ad-blockers, but you can easily help solve the problem too for everyone just by filling in a form online.

The people you complain about might only get nasty legal letters that annoy their lawyers and cost them time and money to defend or fix, but for like 10 mins of effort on your part, that’s a pretty good deal. There could also be fines for them, especially if people have complained before about them. You can even complain anonymously!

How?

To be considered a valid complaint, the animation must:

  • start without you triggering it (so on page load, not clicking on something)
  • last for longer than 5 seconds (yes, looping counts as lasting forever)
  • be alongside other content (like videos in articles, not like a video as the main thing on a page)
  • not allow you to pause, stop or hide it with your mouse and/or keyboard and/or touch (or whatever else you use to get around).

For your complaint to be most effective:

  • both you and the site should be in the same general location. (US located people complaining to the US Government about a US company is always more helpful than trying to do international stuff.)
  • you should probably mention that you have a medical condition that makes it difficult to focus when there are distractions
  • you could mention they are not following this rule: “WCAG Pause, Stop, Hide (SC 2.2.2)”
  • screen recordings are helpful evidence, but don’t let this stop you, you can’t upload them to the form and they might not request them anyway

Complaining about any organisation that gets government money is bonus points, they have even less room to wiggle out of it. Anyone from big business to small police department or anything in between has to follow this rule. They might also give some extra weight to complaints from US veterans?

If you think you tick all of those boxes you can fill out the online form on the Civil Rights Division site, but you should read first this ADA info about what happens when you complaint.

So if you find yourself getting annoyed by yet another distraction when you’re just trying to get shit done in the US online, you now know you have an option to channel that frustration.

EU residents will be better able to channel their frustration June 2025. Some countries do have options now

A little extra info for the intrigued:

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, feel free to verify or refute this info with your own hyperfixation

  • thesystemisdown@lemmy.world
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    2 months ago

    I’m a developer that has done a lot of work in the higher education and finance sectors. Sadly, the ‘G’ in WCAG is ‘guidelines.’ It doesn’t have teeth; there is no legislation around WCAG. I say ‘sadly’ because there really should be a solid legal framework for ensuring equal access to resources, not just loose guidelines.

    The largest movement around the ADA and WCAG was about seven years ago. There were a fair amount of lawsuits brought forward against banks and credit unions since they are federally insured and regulated. Higher education was also targeted as they accept federal money. The gist of it was that the owners of the sites in question did nothing to make the sites compatible with assistive technology like screen readers or even basic navigability needs. I don’t think most of the suits were successful. They did succeed in focusing attention on the topic.

    If you want a good idea how compatible a site is, this tool is excellent; but not perfect: https://wave.webaim.org

    Organizations are increasingly farming out ADA compliance to companies like AudioEye (https://www.audioeye.com). AudioEye might be considered a bit pricey, but worth it when viewed through lens of it being a lot less expensive than addressing a law suit. It’s also less expensive than finding a developer that has accessibility skills on top of all the other inflated technologies that recruiters cram into a job listing.

  • August27th@lemmy.ca
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    2 months ago

    So you’ve got me thinking about a potential dark browser pattern relating to this that I think was introduced by Google in Chrome.

    Wayyyy back in the day, you might have a page full of animated gifs all doing their thing, and what you could do once the page was loaded was to hit the stop button (or hit the stop button twice if the page was still loading), and all of the gifs would stop animating. Today you couldn’t do that, because the stop button has been intertwined with the refresh button; once the page loads, the stop button turns into the refresh button.

    I bring this up, because there used to be a simple universal mechanism to indicate that you wanted to stop things from moving/animating, and it would do so, but now there isn’t. Funny how that mechanism has been subtly removed from an advertiser’s browser, where it is in their best interest to keep the ads blinking and changing to draw your attention to them.

    It’s too bad that there is no longer a mechanism that is as simple and universal that can stop movement. Now every site has to devise its own way to handle stopping movement, and there will be competing standards and methods, and it will no doubt end up being a pain intentionally, just like cookie popups.

    Maybe browsers should bring back universal stop for animated gifs, SVG, video, and (some) CSS, with an event to notify the page script.

    • fiat_lux@kbin.socialOP
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      2 months ago

      Yes! Prefers-reduced-motion is nice but was not developed for this reason and it is not enough to be following the rule but this hasn’t specifically been tested in court yet.

      It was made for people who get sick from things like parallax animations where big things move around, even with interaction. In the future that will have its own rule and prefers reduced motion will help pass that, but it does not help with this one.

      Edit: to be clear, you could use it to help, but it’s not enough on its own

      • FooBarrington@lemmy.world
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        2 months ago

        Thank you for the explanation! I assumed supporting that query would be enough, but I’ll try to add more options to my apps in the future :)

  • Sir_Kevin@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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    2 months ago

    So any website with a looping animated gif can now be sued? This seems way too broad unless I’m missing something.

    • fiat_lux@kbin.socialOP
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      2 months ago

      Yes, unfortunately i think you’ve missed a few things.

      1. Anyone can be sued for anything, whether the suit is successful depends on validity and damages
      2. It would be difficult to prove damages in this case, but you don’t need to sue anyone anyway
      3. Only businesses and organisations serving the public are required to follow the ADA
      4. The government, if it received enough
        valid complaints and received a negative reply from a place which needs to follow the ADA might consider bringing legal action or enforcing penalties
      5. Common practise does not exclude the possibility that something discriminates against people, which is why these rules were written

      I think that about covers it

  • bam13302@ttrpg.network
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    2 months ago

    Hmm, I think fextralife’s wiki might do this with their shitty stream that I’m pretty sure auto plays.

    • r4venw@kbin.social
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      2 months ago

      They changed it to a black box with just a chat last time i was there, although maybe the scrolling chat would count?

      • fiat_lux@kbin.socialOP
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        2 months ago

        Scrolling chatmay have slightly different additional requirement around allowing control of update frequency

  • August27th@lemmy.ca
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    2 months ago

    Does this apply to spinners and other wait animations used to indicate to the visitor that something is happening or giving comfort that their request is indeed still being actively processed?

    • Baggins [he/him]@lemmy.ca
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      2 months ago

      I think you could say an animated loading UI is “essential” since it conveys to the user the program is not frozen. Maybe you could implement a “simple” loading animation if the default one is exceptionally flashy.

      1st paragraph of the WCAG linked by OP:

      unless the movement, blinking, or scrolling is part of an activity where it is essential;

      And further down:

      Note
      An animation that occurs as part of a preload phase or similar situation can be considered essential if interaction cannot occur during that phase for all users and if not indicating progress could confuse users or cause them to think that content was frozen or broken.

      Even further down:

      A “loading” animation
      A preloader animation is shown on a page which requires a certain percentage of a large file to be downloaded before playback can begin. The animation is the only content on the page and instructs the user to please wait while the video loads. Because the moving content is not presented in parallel with other content, no mechanism to pause, stop or hide it needs to be provided, even though the animation may run for more than 5 seconds for users with slower connections.

  • boredsquirrel@slrpnk.net
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    2 months ago

    Cool and all but I have no idea how to test this. My hardened Firefox blocks autoplaying media, NoScript requires me to opt-in to all Javascript origins, meaning I dont even get 90% of 3rd party bloat, and UBlockOrigin also does its part.

    • fiat_lux@kbin.socialOP
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      2 months ago

      Sounds great for daily driving. But you’re still free to open another browser at any point to test!

      • boredsquirrel@slrpnk.net
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        2 months ago

        Well even Vanadium has Adblock now :D

        I agree that we need to protect “normal” people with “normal” browsers. But on the other hand we have Mull & Librewolf so no real problem?

  • some_guy@lemmy.sdf.org
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    2 months ago

    This is a really interesting idea and I’d like to see someone with a strong case bring it to court.

  • Mango@lemmy.world
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    2 months ago

    I’m gonna arrange the bytes on my server however I please, and if you don’t like that, don’t connect to my server.

    • fiat_lux@kbin.socialOP
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      2 months ago

      Ok! You have the right to do that.

      But the US Department of Justice has the right to investigate and fine you up to $75k the first time, if it is determined that you are running a business or organisation in the US that provides public accommodations and you are discriminating against people who have disabilities and you could afford to fix it.

      Lots of rights for everyone! It’s so nice.

      • Mango@lemmy.world
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        2 months ago

        Yeah, I am not a public guy and anything on my servers would be for my friends who can whine about it all they like if it’s not their brand of eye candy.