Making Accessible Websites for the United Nations

Scripts and Forms

No Auto-Refresh

WAI Definition (Checkpoint 7.4)

Until user agents provide the ability to stop the refresh, do not create periodically auto-refreshing pages.

Explanation

You should not create pages that automatically reload in the user's browser every so often, as long as the browser window is open, since not all user agents allow the user to disable auto-refresh.

User agents are not limited to web browsers. They also include graphical browsers, text-only browsers, voice browsers, mobile phones, multimedia players, plug-ins and assistive technologies such as screen readers, screen magnifiers and voice recognition software.

Rationale

Not all users (particularly those who are new to, or not comfortable with, computers) will understand what is happening when a page auto-refreshes.

Auto-refreshing can also make it difficult for the user to navigate around the site. People tend to read at varying speeds and some users may not have finished reading the content before the page automatically refreshes or a screen reader may only be halfway through reading a page before it changes (which may cause the assistive technology to re-read the page from the beginning).

Some older screen readers cannot handle auto-refreshing content and may not display any content at all.

Technique

Do not use the <meta> element for auto-refresh or auto-redirect.

Example

Do not use the following:

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="60">
<body>
<p>...information...</p>
</body>

Validation

Test

Check the page code.

Success Criteria

There is no <meta> refresh. If there is an automated refresh, there is a mechanism to control it.