Why is it so frakking hard to disable animation in web browsers?


#1

I am not a programmer.

I get that most users don’t have trouble with animation.

I don’t get why it’s reasonable to code browsers to enable animation but unreasonable to provide tools to disable it. I have to install separate tools to disable animated gifs, which always hurt, and disable flash unless wanted, and so on. I encountered another source of painful animation on accessfirefox while looking for better solutions to the other animation.

I installed NoScript to disable Javascript-based animation. On installing, it loaded its own website with its own painful animation. I uninstalled NoScript. I don’t know what to do. I get that some of my habits, like using text tables and simple formatting to avoid losing things when switching formats, also go against accessibility standards. But this is just… beyond my comprehension.


#2

I’d use NoScript. Browser plugins sometimes load their own page when they’re first used. And NoScript is not specifically for avoiding animations, but for securing against scripts generally. It works well, but requires a bit of tweaking to get some sites to work. Another option is to use a purely text-based browser such as one of the Lynx family.


#3

I think it will be pretty much impossible to disable all animation on the web, unless you find a dedicated browser that’s built for doing that.

While Flash-blockers and NoScript should get you pretty far (I’m unsure why you disabled it, except for annoyance that it’s own site had animations — I think that aside it should work for you), animations right now are built into the core CSS definitions that describe how websites are laid out. Animations are very much here to stay in the web, even without Javascript.

As far as I know, there is no way to disable CSS animations, except possibly on a case-by-case basis using something that allows you to make and save changes to a site’s CSS, like Chrome’s StyleBot plugin. I don’t think this is a viable solution, though, as it would require hand-editing possibly hundreds of CSS rules on each site you go to. I guess I’d only recommend this if there is a site you go to that you need to keep going to, and can’t stand the animations there.

You could theoretically install an old version of a browser that doesn’t support CSS animations, but that would be a huge security risk. Better would be a hypothetical browser built with usability in mind, but I don’t know about that kind of thing.


#4

So how the fuck am I supposed to get by without (a) using the web or (b) trying to do everything in person where I’ll be incapacitated by the gorram backup beepers? I sometimes wish I AM killed by the aphoned things.


#5

Have you considered asking Mozilla for help? Try asking for them to implement features to disable GIFs or other animations with simple checkboxes in the options menu. I think a lot of users might want the same things you do. I’m not sure whether this is the appropriate forum for you to ask, but if you catch the right eyes, it may get built into the next implementation. I too, am not a programmer in any real sense, but since FF is an open-source project, someone who is might be able to get it through.


#6

I’ve found that HTTP Switchboard for Opera is pretty flexible as far as blocking goes.

Obviously, there’s a default assumption here that you’re both willing and able to switch browsers.
It would take a really good reason for me to do so and I haven’t spent any of the time you have learning how to tune it to individual needs… :frowning:

Are there any AdBlock gurus here? Is it possible to set up tiers of whitelist behaviour so the default would be “block absolutley everything bar plain text”, WL1 “Allow static images”, WL2 “Allow a bit more” etc…
It’s not going to completely protect from pain-inducing stuff, but it might at least prevent nasty surprises.


#7

I’d imagine you’d be able to block bbs.boingboing.net/*.gif, or something like that fairly easily.


#8

I think that piecemeal is still the way you’ll have to go, unless a browser decides to tackle this.

I think your gif blockers, flash blockers and NoScript are you major defenses.

In contrast to what I wrote earlier, I think CSS transitions could maybe be blocked. I think it would require writing a browser plugin based on this code. I haven’t written browser plugins before, so someone else might be able to hack that up quicker than me, but I could maybe take a stab at it at some point in the next few days.

I’d want to know how big a problem the CSS transitions are, though. Do you have a site you could share that doesn’t seem fixable by the triad of defenses above?


#9

Yeah, If it were me, that’s where I’d start. You could do a fair bit just with adding blanket rules.
I’m just wondering about some sort of fine-grained control over it. It’s a bit all-or-nothing which is perfect for a ad-blocker but less so for a web-tamer.

NoScript is great, but it does do that annoying pop-up tab when it updates. I should look into this a bit more.

@MarjaE - on the NoScript options window, under the “Notification” tab, is there a checked box saying “Display the release notes on updates”?
I wonder if unchecking that box would prevent it launching into a new tab on every update…
(Actually wondering. It seems to be checked by default and I’d never noticed it was there. )


#10

I installed Opera. It allows me to either allow all images (nope…), or block all images (nope, but not as bad…). I installed Image Blocker Plus for Opera. [Image Blocker Plus] has animation in the interface. headdesk [Opera] also flashes as I scroll around. nope


#11

Another topic on this? I think that makes three.

Refusing all GIFs is not a bad idea, most websites use PNG for lossless compression of stuff these days. If you refuse all GIFs you might be OK.


#12

One more suggestion was QuickJava in Firefox. It seems to allow a lot of tweaking, better than before.


#13

It is built into firefox…
It just is not easy to set – one has to use the about:config interface.
However, there is a plugin called Configuration Mania that gives a normal settings interface for all of those little tweaks.
It is under the “Page control” item – one can set animations to continuously loop (default); loop once; or remain static.

edit to add link


#14

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-uS/firefox/addon/toggle-animated-gifs/

but of course, it’s functionally equivalent to fiddling with image.animation_mode


#15

most gifs on boingboing are likely to be served by https://discourse-cdn.global.ssl.fastly.net/boingboing


#16

… more tweaking, but on some sites, more video is getting through…


#17

Which sites? What sort of video? What browser? Your bug reports are frustratingly vague.


#18

They’re not necessarily bug reports.

One problem was with ads and wrappers on the Guardian. I can defeat both by disabling Javascript, and the ads alone by re-enabling adblock. Another problem was with certain videos on Tumblr. Inspection indicated that it was “tumblr video,” and I’ve sent a support request asking how to block that.


#19

Your reports are vague because you keep reporting different combinations of settings, and saying that “more video” is getting through. It helps if we know what is set, and where you still see video.

With a Flash Blocker, a Gif Blocker, and NoScript installed, and either media.autoplay.enabled to set to false in Firefox’s about:config, or Stop YouTube HTML5 Autoplay plugin for Chrome, are there any sites that still autoplay any animations for you?


#20

I installed NoScript, had it open its own painfully-flashing website, and uninstalled NoScript.

I currently use (1) QuickJava, (2) Ad Block Plus, (3) Toggle Animated GIFs, mainly to distinguished animated gifs from other images and avoid accidentally reblogging pain on Tumblr, and (4) Stylish, after someone suggested a fix to block Tumblr video on that site.

I also use a couple bookmark fixes and other tools.

I still have trouble with animation on the Guardian unless I disable Javascript, with hard-to-navigate and flashing menus on some sites, and with auto-zooming and flashing maps on some sites.