Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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H76: Using meta refresh to create an instant client-side redirect

Important Information about Techniques

See Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria for important information about the usage of these informative techniques and how they relate to the normative WCAG 2.0 success criteria. The Applicability section explains the scope of the technique, and the presence of techniques for a specific technology does not imply that the technology can be used in all situations to create content that meets WCAG 2.0.



This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to enable redirects on the client side without confusing the user. Redirects are preferably implemented on the server side (see SVR1: Implementing automatic redirects on the server side instead of on the client side (SERVER) ), but authors do not always have control over server-side technologies.

In HTML and XHTML, one can use the meta element with the value of the http-equiv attribute set to "Refresh" and the value of the content attribute set to "0" (meaning zero seconds), followed by the URI that the browser should request. It is important that the time-out is set to zero, to avoid that content is displayed before the new page is loaded. The page containing the redirect code should only contain information related to the redirect.


Example 1

Example Code:

 <html xmlns="">    
    <title>The Tudors</title>      
    <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;URL=''" />    
    <p>This page has moved to a <a href=""></a>.</p> 


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  1. Find all meta elements in the document.

  2. For each meta element, check if it contains the attribute http-equiv with value "refresh" (case-insensitive) and the content attribute with a number greater than 0 followed by ;'URL=anyURL' (where anyURL stands for the URI that should replace the current page).

Expected Results

Step 2 is false.

If this is a sufficient technique for a success criterion, failing this test procedure does not necessarily mean that the success criterion has not been satisfied in some other way, only that this technique has not been successfully implemented and can not be used to claim conformance.