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Rotating images (javascript)


From: Jan Heck
Date: Oct 28, 2011 4:09PM

Just got the WebAIM newsletter with the following quick tip:

"Animation or other moving elements on a web page can be distracting to
all users. Even simple animation can render a web page completely
inaccessible to users with certain cognitive disabilities or high levels
of distractibility. Animation should generally be avoided."

My question is this: A disability services agency who has asked my help in
checking the accessibility of their not-yet-built new site has an element
in the design that concerns me. In the masthead, top of page, they want to
place an area for rotating images--essentially, icons that represent the
various services they offer or the various disability groups they serve
(can't remember which). The Web designer plans to implement this feature
via Javascript. This is not the only place this information will be
available on the page, so it's more for visual interest. I was told in the
past that when images rotate or change on a page, it can cause some
screenreaders to hiccup and maybe even start reading the page over again
from the top. I don't know if that's correct or if I'm remembering it

Other than the distraction element mentioned in the newsletter quick tip,
are there additional good reasons why this rotating image area should not
be implemented? Does it cause any problems for screenreaders or for any
other assistive software?

If it *is* OK to use such a script, is it OK to use null alt text, since
the info about the various groups served will appear elsewhere on the page?

Thanks for any insight into this issue!

Jan Heck