Gifs must die

A: “Should I post this as a GIF?”
B: “No”.

There’s already a perfect, canonical guide about why you should stop using GIFs and what to do instead by Jeremy Wagner, so I’m going to spare you the details. But I’ve decided to use my platform (my blog!) to spread the message. Please stop using GIFs.

Think about that.

Most posts addressing this issue address software developers, yet the biggest offenders I see today are journalists and marketers. If you are working with content creators, please help educate them, which in return will improve their content through higher quality animations and improved user experience.

The role of the CMS is even more important. First off, a CMS should obviously convert gifs on-the-fly to videos. I don’t know of any that do this today (other than the big platforms like Twitter). For a popular CMS, I bet that this fix alone would result in a massive worldwide CO2 reduction through the saved CPU cycles (= less energy consumption) for billions of devices every day.

Second, embedding GIFs is still much simpler than embedding autoplaying, muted video equivalents. WordPress’ new block editor, for instance, is half way there (and already doing much better than others) by making embedding videos easy:

But what if we’d go all the way and make it even simpler to pick the correct settings and turn a video into an “animation”, like so:

I’ve filed an issue for WordPress/Gutenberg here to start this conversation, but I can’t do this alone. If you use or develop a CMS that defaults to GIFs, ask them to do better. Do it for the kittens.


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