Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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F40: Failure of Success Criterion 2.2.1 and 2.2.4 due to using meta redirect with a time limit


All pages

This failure relates to:


meta http-equiv of {time-out}; url=... is often used to automatically redirect users. When this occurs after a time delay, it is an unexpected change of context that may interrupt the user.

It is acceptable to use the meta element to create a redirect when the time-out is set to zero, since the redirect is instant and will not be perceived as a change of context. However, it is preferable to use server-side methods to accomplish this. See SVR1: Implementing automatic redirects on the server side instead of on the client side (SERVER) .


Failure Example 1

The page below is a failure because it will redirect to the URI after a time limit of 5 seconds.

Example Code:

<html xmlns="">
      <title>Do not use this!</title>     
      <meta http-equiv="refresh"
      content="5; url=" />   
         If your browser supports Refresh, you'll be       
         transported to our        
         <a href="">new site</a>        
         in 5 seconds, otherwise, select the link manually.     


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  1. View a page.

  2. Check that the page does not redirect after a time-out.

Expected Results

  1. If check #2 is false, this failure condition applies and content fails the Success Criterion.

Techniques are Informative

Techniques are informative—that means they are not required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard—not the techniques. For important information about techniques, please see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.