Change on Request
Success Criterion 3.2.5 (Level AAA)


In your site or application are changes in context initiated by the request of the user, or able to be turned off? Changes in context may include pop-up windows or modals, changes in focus, re-ordering of content, or auto-submission.

Why is this important

An unexpected change of context can confuse all users, including those with disabilities. Examples of a change of context are: focus unexpectedly moving to a different part of the page, content being significantly re-arranged, or a new page that is opened unintentionally, etc. If not given prior warning, when changes to the page are triggered automatically and unexpectedly users can lose their place, or be confused about what is happening on the page when content does not act as expected.

Whom does it benefit?

Example 1:

As a person who is easily disoriented by unexpected changes,
I want to be notified of changes on a web page before they occur,
so that I can mentally prepare to reorient myself to the new content.

Example 2:

As a person who uses a screen reader to view web content,
I want to be notified that selecting a link will open the content in a new window,
so that I can be aware that the content will be in a new window and I will be able to find it.

What should you do?

  • Design web content that gives the user full control of changes in context.
    • Avoid unexpected changes of context such as launching of new windows, moving of focus, auto-submission of forms when selecting an item, etc.
    • In situations when automatic changes are unavoidable, inform users of these possible changes before they occur.

How do you do it?

  • Provide clearly labeled user controls that enable context change so the user is aware prior to the change.
  • If a change in context will occur automatically, provide text or alerts on what is going to happen, or instructions on how to pause or prevent it.

Need technical guidance?

Technical guidance is available for implementing this Success Criterion at the Understanding Success Criterion 3.2.5 - Change on Request page.

Additional Resources to help you: