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meta-refresh

Ensures <meta http-equiv="refresh"> is not used for delayed refresh.

Severity: Critical

Description

To allow assistive technology users to control when the refresh happens, the document must not use <meta http-equiv="refresh"> with a refresh time of less than 20 hours.

Why is it important?

When http-equiv="refresh" is used in a <meta> element, a web page will automatically refresh after a specified amount of time.

Refreshing a website automatically can be confusing. Refreshing also shifts the programmatic emphasis from where the user had it to the top of the page. People who use screen readers and other keyboard users may find it particularly annoying if a refresh causes the input emphasis to abruptly return to its previous location.

Examples

  • Success:

    • Instead of refreshing the page entirely, specific information is updated using scripting. Users have the choice between automatic and personal updating. The website is simpler for everyone to use.
  • Failure:

    • A page is automatically refreshed every 60 seconds by using the <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="60"> tag. There is no way for users to stop, delay, or change the refresh schedule. The refresh annoys most users, and renders the website useless for some.

How to fix?

Every meta element that contains the http-equiv="refresh" attribute should be removed, or the refresh duration should be raised to more than 20 hours.

Tags

cat.time-and-media, wcag2a, wcag221, wcag224, wcag325

References

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