The Fake Animated Gif

Perusing Upwork, I saw a request to convert some videos of exercise instruction to animated gifs. A while back I read a very interesting article over on Popular Mechanics about the history of this format. (Read it here: THE GIF IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE GIF.) I did not realize that developers were substituting video clips for animated gifs until I read this article. So armed with that knowledge I put forth this little experiment.

If you are on a mobile device, it seems the bottom video clip will be hit or miss. Didn’t work for me on iOS Chrome browser, but did work on the iOS Safari browser. No dice with an Android based phone either.

After some research, it appears that pre iOS 10, autoplay videos would not work. The thinking was, on mobile, you didn’t want all these videos downloading and eating up your data. But, as someone pointed out, this makes no sense, since animated gifs of a video, which are sometimes more than quadruple the size of the same video as an mp4, are okay to autoplay.

So where does that leave us? Well, as the PM article makes clear, the gif is still around because it just works! Although the file sizes are bloated, they still work just about everywhere, whereas video, which has better quality and smaller sizes, is hit or miss. Stay tuned.

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