Apple has a problem with animation. In the past, I’ve written about how OS X’s full-screen animations and transitions gave me motion-sickness, leaving dizziness and nausea in their wake. ReSpaceApp/TotalSpaces was a partial solution, but only overrides full-screen slide transitions, and not other OS-level animation. I wrote directly to Apple execs and firstname.lastname@example.org; having (unsurprisingly) had no response from anyone, I then penned an open letter about motion sickness triggers in OS X Mavericks and iOS 7.
Within the last of those, I was at the time concerned about iOS 7. My fears weren’t unfounded. I’ve now updated my devices and have the same feeling I got on using OS X Lion’s full-screen for the first time. Right now, the iPhone is bearable, but aspects of the iPad are unusable. The app switcher in particular has such aggressive animation and zooming that a single use is enough to trigger dizziness.
I’m not alone. I found vestibular support organisations were hugely concerned about iOS 7. I’ve had many people email and tweet me about these issues, in some cases practically begging for a solution. There isn’t one. I’ve been told about 50 times now to activate ‘Reduce Motion’ in iOS 7, but all that does is remove the home screen parallax—it doesn’t stop the zooming and sliding elsewhere. Obviously, it also doesn’t ‘fix’ OS X for me and others either.
Worse, there’s some major ignorance within the market regarding vestibular conditions. On Friday, I wrote a news piece for Stuff.tv on iOS 7 triggering vertigo and nausea symptoms. This was well received by those suffering, but not by others. I’ve been called a “bullshitter” and a “pansy”; some people helpfully argued that I should “just fuck off and use Android then”, while others said I was “just another idiot finding something else Apple’s done to complain about”.
As someone who’s regularly accused of being an Apple shill, it’s curious I’m now considered the opposite. Also, there appears to be a misunderstanding regarding what people like me actually want. We don’t want to destroy your precious operating systems. We don’t even want to remove those dynamic zooms and swipes you love so much. We merely want a setting that will optionally enable you to do so. That’s it.
I’d like nothing more from Apple than to be able to go to the accessibility settings in OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 and see ‘disable animation effects’. For most people, this option existing won’t affect them. But for many people currently suffering various motion symptoms through standard device use, it will offer a level of delight like no other Apple update. For them, devices will suddenly become truly magical.
Further reading: Why Is Apple Ignoring People with Vision and Balance Problems? (Kirk McElhearn)