Interruptions
Success Criterion 2.2.4 (Level AAA)

Question

Can users postpone or suppress server-side interruptions with the exception of those that involve an emergency?

Why is this important

Content that automatically updates or refreshes, as well as pop-up alerts or notifications can lead to comprehension issues for individuals with cognitive or learning disabilities. These unforeseen changes distract users from focusing on the topic of the content they are reading.

Unexpected interruptions also interfere with screen reader technology. The focus of the screen reading technology may change when page content refreshes. This can lead to confusion and misunderstanding if the user is unaware that a shift in focus has occurred (for example: if a user starts reading in one topic, a refresh occurs, and finishes reading in another area of the content).

Whom does it benefit?

Example 1:

As a person with a cognitive disorder
I want to have a disruption-free experience
so that I can focus on the content that I am reading.

Example 2:

As a person with a reading disability,
I want to be able to postpone any automatic updates on web pages I am reading
so that I can stay focused on the text and not lose my place.

Example 3:

As a blind person
I want to have web content not update while I work with it
so that my screen reader provides me with continued text without misunderstandings.

What should you do?

Ensure that users are provided with a way to postpone automatic updates of content, and all notifications and alerts, except in the case of civil/disaster emergency alerts.

How do you do it?

  • If your web site or application updates automatically, provide a mechanism that will allow the user to update the content manually, or postpone the update.
  • Another solution is to provide the user with a warning that an automatic update is about to happen, and allow them to accept, postpone, or stop it.

Need technical guidance?

Additional Resources to help you: