Leave the Past in the Past: Your Flashing Website is Ableist as Fuck

There’s really no nice way to say this.

Your flashing website fucking sucks.

And if you’re mad at that statement, let’s elaborate.

Let’s look at some stats. 1 in 100 people has epilepsy, and 3% of those people have photosensitive epilepsy. This isn’t an insignificant number of people, nor is the effect of flashing lights on people anything to mess around with. Just recently, when Cyberpunk 2077 came out, a reviewer had a seizure due to a flashing scene in the game to the point where the game had to be edited to add a warning and had to change an entire animation to prevent seizures.

That’s a video game, though, how does this affect your website? Well, I’d like you to imagine you’re someone with photosensitive epilepsy who has a neocities account. You’re looking for people to follow, you click on someone’s page (which does not show a gif if you’re just looking through neocities site search) and, bam, the entire webpage is flashing in different, highly contrasting patterns. As you can imagine, this can be pretty fucking bad. Seizures can kill people through a variety of means, and if not kill, they can lead to lasting damage for that person. All because they wanted to participate in neocities.

I get it. The appeal of making your own web page lies in self expression and you may be frustrated that someone is asking you to change a design choice you made or making you feel bad about it. However, it also feels pretty fucking bad being someone with a light sensitivity online. The web isn’t made for disabled people in a lot of places in the first place, and this is just another example. Even if someone doesn’t have photosensitive epilepsy, they can have conditions that make flashing lights painful, cause headaches or severe migraines, etc. Ableist web design is far too common, but we can make a change. We can make the web accessible for ALL people, not just corporations, and not just people who aren’t disabled.

When your web design is hurting people, I want to ask you to stop and think. Is your personal aesthetic worth potentially hurting someone who wants to enjoy your website?

So what can you do? Here’s my suggestions:

We can make the web better, one step at a time. A web for only some people to enjoy is not a web that I want to see.

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