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.