While Apple ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to accessibility, it still ignores motion and balance issues
Apple obviously cares an awful lot about accessibility. This is evident when you delve into System Preferences and examine all the settings that are designed to aid people who need assistance when it comes to looking at, listening to or interacting with their Macs. It’s quite something that entirely blind or deaf users can interact with OS X, as can people with motor impairment. However, one thing is conspicuous by its absence: the means to help people who suffer from balance/ motion sickness.
This is a curious blind spot for Apple on the Mac. Although the issue is not well understood in the tech industry as a whole, Apple did respond to it when iOS 7 started making people dizzy and nauseated due to fast slide and zoom transitions throughout the operating system. Quite a bit of bad press and a couple of updates later, Reduce Motion was introduced, helping millions of people who’d suddenly found their devices unusable.
OS X has had similar problems since OS X Lion. There’s the slide transition between full-screen apps, and the ‘morphing’ animation that occurs to and from fullscreen. Slides exist elsewhere, too, such as in Safari and Preview. Three major versions later and these animations persist, with no means of disabling them. We very much hope when Yosemite’s successor arrives, it will finally include Reduce Motion – not as a default, but as an option.
If our experience is anything to go by, while some users rely on accessibility settings to use their Macs, plenty of other people pick and choose the bits they like to boost their Mac experiences too. In other words, Reduce Motion would become another setting that could potentially benefit many people, despite being intended for a relative few.
Even Apple Watch has a Reduce Motion setting, so there’s no excuse for its omission on the Mac, where animations and transitions are hard to miss.