Animation for accessibility

Google Street View has a wonderful little animation which shows how the service works, from capture, to scan, to detail-removal.

Looking at it, you wouldn’t know it was made by the Google Maps team in Japan, which has had particular privacy concerns with the service. Aside from the credits there is no Japanese, no English, no Russian or Romanian — no spoken language, just sequential visual imagery.

Yet the meaning of the message comes across, without text. More importantly, the affective content of the message comes across too — it’s cute, compelling, leaves you with a good feeling.

We’d still need a textual representation, for people with low visual acuity or who use devices which don’t have adequate display screens… it’s hard to get away from the need for multiple representations of a message.

But this Google Street View animation may be one of the clearest examples of how motion graphics assist understanding, in a way that text alone cannot. We humans do learn visually. That’s why animation aids access.

[Thanks to Veronique Brossier for the link!]