Granting the User Control

More than once I have spoken about giving the user control over their experience. Too often we make assumptions about how things should work, but in the end those assumptions always forget someone. Providing a set of tools for the user to control the situation or experience allows us to have the most rich and dynamic experience we can build, but one that any user can get behind even if they can’t do all the fancy bells and whistles.

One such example is animation in social media. We love (I know I do) to post animated gifs, videos, vines, and cool new web animations in a place where our friends and colleagues can see. For me, many of these (especially videos and animations) will trigger a vertigo attack. The wrong kind of animation could cause someone with photo-sensitive epilepsy to have a seizure. I have a little faith left in humanity and hope no one posts these kinds of things with the intent to harm, but we can do better.

I’m not asking you to stop posting these. Instead I’m asking to give your followers control. If you come across a video full of violence, profanity, or sexual content while at work (or somewhere you would be embarrassed to get caught viewing it), you appreciate when that video has a NSFW (not safe for work) tag on it. We have learned what this means and now have the choice to view it or save it for when we are less likely to be embarrassed if caught.

We also have TW (trigger warning) for articles that contain descriptions of sexual assault, abuse, or suicide. We recognize that some people out there will be dramatically affected if they read these things, so we let them know up front it could happen. They can then choose to keep reading or not. They have the choice and the control.

So, I’m pushing for two new tags. One warns users that the content may cause dizziness, the other warns against possible seizure inducement.


DZY, short for dizzy, but a clear concise item that takes up no more than 4 characters (if including the octothorpe – #). It communicates that the following content may cause some vertigo, motion sickness, or dizziness in some users. Putting this in a tweet with a link allows users like myself to decide if they want to click on it. The user has control. They can click through knowing they will see movement (knowing goes a big way in prevention), or if they are having a bad vertigo day (like I am right now) they can avoid it completely.


SZR, short for seizure, is the same concept but for things that strobe and flash. Nothing should ever be created in a strobing or flashing manner that riggers epileptic attacks, but if you aren’t sure if it will, you can now warn your followers and users that something is coming that could.

Like all new things, we need to get movement on these in order for them to stick, so please go preach. You can retweet my orgiginal #DZY tweet if you want:

Or the one I just posted that includes both tags:

Thanks for helping spread the word!