Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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G76: Providing a mechanism to request an update of the content instead of updating automatically


Any technology or combination of technologies that support automatic updates.

This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to let the user control if and when content is updated, in order to avoid confusion or disorientation caused by automatic refreshes that cause a change of context. Users of screen readers may find automatic updates confusing because it is not always clear what is happening. When a page is refreshed, the screen reader's “virtual cursor", which marks the user's current location on the page, is moved to the top of the page. People who use screen magnification software and people with reading disabilities may also be disoriented when pages are refreshed automatically.

Some content is frequently updated with new data or information. Some developers force automatic updates by inserting code in the content that causes the content to request a new copy of itself from the server. These updates and the frequency of these updates are not always under the user's control. Instead of triggering updates automatically, authors can provide a mechanism that allows the user to request an update of the content as needed.


Example 1

In HTML, a developer can provide a button or link that allows the user to update the content. For example, on a page with news items located at

Example Code:

<a href="news.jsp">Update this page</a>

Example 2

In a Web interface for e-mail (Webmail), a developer can provide a button or link to fetch new incoming mails instead of updating automatically.


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  1. Find mechanisms to update the content (if such a mechanism is present).

  2. For each such mechanism, check if it allows the user to request an update.

  3. For each such mechanism, check if it can cause an automatic update.

Expected Results

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.