Understanding Success Criterion 2.2.2: Pause, Stop, Hide

Success Criterion 2.2.2 Pause, Stop, Hide (Level A): For moving, blinking, scrolling, or auto-updating information, all of the following are true:

Moving, blinking, scrolling

For any moving, blinking or scrolling information that (1) starts automatically, (2) lasts more than five seconds, and (3) is presented in parallel with other content, there is a mechanism for the user to pause, stop, or hide it unless the movement, blinking, or scrolling is part of an activity where it is essential; and

Auto-updating

For any auto-updating information that (1) starts automatically and (2) is presented in parallel with other content, there is a mechanism for the user to pause, stop, or hide it or to control the frequency of the update unless the auto-updating is part of an activity where it is essential.

For requirements related to flickering or flashing content, refer to Guideline 2.3.

Since any content that does not meet this success criterion can interfere with a user's ability to use the whole page, all content on the Web page (whether it is used to meet other success criteria or not) must meet this success criterion. See Conformance Requirement 5: Non-Interference.

Content that is updated periodically by software or that is streamed to the user agent is not required to preserve or present information that is generated or received between the initiation of the pause and resuming presentation, as this may not be technically possible, and in many situations could be misleading to do so.

An animation that occurs as part of a preload phase or similar situation can be considered essential if interaction cannot occur during that phase for all users and if not indicating progress could confuse users or cause them to think that content was frozen or broken.

Intent

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.

    Note

    See 2.2.1: Timing Adjustable 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.

    Note

    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

Examples

Related Resources

Resources are for information purposes only, no endorsement implied.

Techniques

Each numbered item in this section represents a technique or combination of techniques that the WCAG Working Group deems sufficient for meeting this Success Criterion. However, it is not necessary to use these particular techniques. For information on using other techniques, see Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria, particularly the "Other Techniques" section.

Sufficient Techniques

  1. G4: Allowing the content to be paused and restarted from where it was paused
  2. SL11: Pausing or Stopping A Decorative Silverlight Animation
  3. SL12: Pausing, Stopping, or Playing Media in Silverlight MediaElements
  4. SCR33: Using script to scroll content, and providing a mechanism to pause it
  5. FLASH35: Using script to scroll Flash content, and providing a mechanism to pause it
  6. G11: Creating content that blinks for less than 5 seconds
  7. G187: Using a technology to include blinking content that can be turned off via the user agent
  8. G152: Setting animated gif images to stop blinking after n cycles (within 5 seconds)
  9. SCR22: Using scripts to control blinking and stop it in five seconds or less
  10. FLASH36: Using scripts to control blinking and stop it in five seconds or less
  11. G186: Using a control in the Web page that stops moving, blinking, or auto-updating content
  12. G191: Providing a link, button, or other mechanism that reloads the page without any blinking content
  13. SL24: Using AutoPlay to Keep Silverlight Media from Playing Automatically

Advisory Techniques

Although not required for conformance, the following additional techniques should be considered in order to make content more accessible. Not all techniques can be used or would be effective in all situations.

Failures

The following are common mistakes that are considered failures of this Success Criterion by the WCAG Working Group.

Key Terms

blinking

switch back and forth between two visual states in a way that is meant to draw attention

Note

See also flash. It is possible for something to be large enough and blink brightly enough at the right frequency to be also classified as a flash.

essential

if removed, would fundamentally change the information or functionality of the content, and information and functionality cannot be achieved in another way that would conform

paused

stopped by user request and not resumed until requested by user