The London 2012 Olympics effort has attracted international ridicule after it was forced to remove an animated version of its controversial new logo because it was causing epileptic seizures.

The dayglo, nu rave-style jigsaw images have drawn derision - and several attempts to do better - since their unveiling on Monday. But the online animation fuelled the matter further after Epilepsy Action requested its removal following complaints from sufferers.

A spokesperson for the charity said:

"The animated footage could affect the 23,000 people in the UK who have photosensitive epilepsy and may also affect other people who do not yet know that they are photosensitive."

The Olympics organisers duly complied, agreeing to re-edit the segment, which included a diver leaping across multi-coloured shapes. The animation had also been aired on TV, breaking Ofcom guidelines.

But behind the headlines, regulations already compel web designers to act with sensitivity, and remind marketers to act accordingly toward epileptics.

Epilepsy Action calls on designers to adhere to the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) 1999 Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, which asks that web page users are able to control flickering and blinking and also require readers can avoid them altogether.

According to the guidelines:

"People with photosensitive epilepsy can have seizures triggered by flickering or flashing in the four-to-59 flashes per second (Hertz) range with a peak sensitivity at 20 flashes per second as well as quick changes from dark to light (like strobe lights)."

Epilepsy Action also reminded designers of their duty under the Disability Discrimination Act not to treat disabled users unfavourably during the design of a website.

Meanwhile, Alex Balfour, London 2012's head of new media and a founder of the CricInfo website, used his official blog to defend the logo:

"What we hope people will appreciate in time is that we have embarked on one of the biggest branding projects in this decade.

"We have built a brand identity which has over 40,000 elements, which will evolve over the coming months and years in many smart ways. ... A brand which is flexible enough to render in multiple different formats on multiple platforms.

"It’s not about the shape. It’s not about the colours. It’s about what we can do with it - there is a lot more to see, and you’ll see it soon.

"In the course of playing with it over the past few weeks our new media team has enjoyed playing with the flexibility that the whole system around the brand offers."

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Comments (3)


Jill Tovey

It's sad that their egos now stand in the way of changing it. With all the criticism they've received so far I hope they'll at least consider it.

about 11 years ago


Andrew Robinson

It is a rather poor mistake to have made, but at least something is being done about and hopefully a lesson has been learnt, that asking the disabled can avoid embarassment.

about 11 years ago


Lewis Creole

Yumble yumble yumble.

Let that be a lesion to you!

about 11 years ago

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