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In the interest of accessibility I have created a site that loafs extremely fast, becuse it contains mostly text (information material, we are not talking about e-business here). I have onw seen that there are programs out there, allowing you to animate content.
My question is now: Will they require a plugin to display that content, or is there a way to 'steam' the content down the line, regardless of the browser?
Gif animation has very wide browser support, and animated gif text can be a very small file size, depending on what kind of movement you program. Effects such as a "wipe", where the letters stay in place after they appear, can only a little more file space than static gif lettering.
Flash (which does require a plug-in) has wide support. Not as much as animated gif, but somewhere between 83% and 97% depending on whose stats you believe.
Java can also animate text, but I wouldn't mess with it -- many people are long-time frustrated with client side Java. It is slow to render (the Java Virtual Machine has to load first) and often hangs or crashes various browsers.
Especially if the animation is set to loop infinitely.
Sometimes, used very sparingly, a single loop animation can be an attention getter. But then any further motion is distracting.
The most easy to take animations are those that duplicate natural motion, rather than cartoon-like antics. Wind, water, or even a drop of blood dripping from a rose ;) -- that kind of subtle effect can enhance a page when used with good taste.