Understanding Pause, Stop, Hide

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Intent of Pause, Stop, Hide

The intent of this Success Criterion is to avoid distracting users during their interaction with a Web page.

"Moving, blinking and scrolling" refers to content in which the visible content conveys a sense of motion. Common examples include motion pictures, synchronized media presentations, animations, real-time games, and scrolling stock tickers. "Auto-updating" refers to content that updates or disappears based on a preset time interval. Common time-based content includes audio, automatically updated weather information, news, stock price updates, and auto-advancing presentations and messages. The requirements for moving, blinking and scrolling content and for auto-updating content are the same except that:

Content that moves or auto-updates can be a barrier to anyone who has trouble reading stationary text quickly as well as anyone who has trouble tracking moving objects. It can also cause problems for screen readers.

Moving content can also be a severe distraction for some people. Certain groups, particularly those with attention deficit disorders, find blinking content distracting, making it difficult for them to concentrate on other parts of the Web page. Five seconds was chosen because it is long enough to get a user's attention, but not so long that a user cannot wait out the distraction if necessary to use the page.

Content that is paused can either resume in real-time or continue playing from the point in the presentation where the user left off.

  1. Pausing and resuming where the user left off is best for users who want to pause to read content and works best when the content is not associated with a real-time event or status.

    See for additional requirements related to time-limits for reading.

  2. Pausing and jumping to current display (when pause is released) is better for information that is real-time or "status" in nature. For example, weather radar, a stock ticker, a traffic camera, or an auction timer, would present misleading information if a pause caused it to display old information when the content was restarted.

    Hiding content would have the same result as pausing and jumping to current display (when pause is released).

For a mechanism to be considered "a mechanism for the user to pause," it must provide the user with a means to pause that does not tie up the user or the focus so that the page cannot be used. The word "pause" here is meant in the sense of a "pause button" although other mechanisms than a button can be used. Having an animation stop only so long as a user has focus on it (where it restarts as soon as the user moves the focus away) would not be considered a "mechanism for the user to pause" because it makes the page unusable in the process and would not meet this SC.

It is important to note that the terms "blinking" and "flashing" can sometimes refer to the same content.

Benefits of Pause, Stop, Hide

Examples of Pause, Stop, Hide

Resources for Pause, Stop, Hide

Techniques for Pause, Stop, Hide

Sufficient Techniques for Pause, Stop, Hide

  1. Allowing the content to be paused and restarted from where it was stopped
  2. Using script to scroll content, and providing a mechanism to pause it
  3. Using script to scroll Flash content, and providing a mechanism to pause it
  4. Creating content that blinks for less than 5 seconds
  5. Using a technology to include blinking content that can be turned off via the user agent
  6. Setting animated gif images to stop blinking after n cycles (within 5 seconds)
  7. Using scripts to control blinking and stop it in five seconds or less
  8. Using scripts to control blinking and stop it in five seconds or less
  9. Using a control in the Web page that stops moving, blinking, or auto-updating content
  10. Providing a link, button, or other mechanism that reloads the page without the blinking content

Additional Techniques (Advisory) for Pause, Stop, Hide

Common Failures for Pause, Stop, Hide