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

  • August27th
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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]
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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.