In 2012, I fell ill. Abrupt dizziness. I felt like I’d been drinking heavily, and had no idea what was going on.

Being a logical type, I looked at changes in my life around that time. It took a full day before I realised the only major change had been updating my Mac to OS X Lion. The full-screen animations were making me sick. Fortunately, I could avoid the worst of Lion’s effects when I knew they were the problem, and third-party apps subsequently dealt with the issue entirely.

And then iOS 7 happened. In an instant, Apple’s smartphone switched its familiar but largely static interface to a minimalist effort packed full of animations. Parallax wobbled about on the Home Screen. Folders blasted towards your face at incredible speed. Within half an hour, I realised I couldn’t use my iPhone.

I wasn’t alone. In a piece for The Guardian, I spoke to several people who were suffering, along with spokespeople for vestibular disorder societies who confirmed this was a real problem that could potentially impact millions. I received personal messages from many more folks desperate for a solution.

The piece was widely shared. Online, I faced significant scepticism. People noted I wrote about mobile games, and so how could these animations affect me? But by that point I’d rapidly learned with vestibular accessibility – in fact, any accessibility – that everyone is different.

With vestibular conditions, some people are floored by parallax, but it doesn’t affect others. Some can cope with iOS folder animations. For others, it might mean being dizzy for a few minutes – or a few days. Personally, I can enjoy motion-based entertainment where I can anticipate what’s next – roller coasters; driving games – but am knocked back by abrupt animation I cannot prepare for and that takes up a significant portion of my field of view.

The article – and presumably other feedback – must have reached suitably senior people at Apple, because fixes subsequently arrived. They weren’t total, but they also weren’t an end point. Over the years since, I’ve swapped quite a few messages with Apple’s accessibility team. One involved slide transitions for nested menus on iPhone. In my sole live WWDC, I was fortunate to attend an accessibility session where it was revealed the animation could be disabled in the Settings app. Reader, I may have shed a tear.

It’s ten years since that Guardian article was published. Accessibility remains an odd beast. Far too many people consider accessibility to be solely about helping people with vision issues to use technology. But increasingly we do see a wider understanding of accessibility, in that it needs to be for everyone – something I wrote about for the dearly departed MacUser back in 2015. That we now have accessible games controllers is a genuinely exciting development.

However, I’d still like more software developers to bake in accessibility as a default. Start with an accessible foundation, rather than plug gaps later. But I do appreciate companies from the tiniest indie to massive corporations increasingly take this subject seriously, including catering for people with vestibular conditions. And I hope if you have any accessibility concerns yourself, you’ll be met with the kindness I’ve received from Apple’s teams.

Speaking of, that action button screen on the new iPhones is a vestibular trigger. Time to write another quick email…