Don’t interrupt your users

Some of your users will have difficulty maintaining their focus and attention; interrupting their experience may impact their understanding of your content. You can avoid this by eliminating interruptions.

What to do

  • Don’t use an automatic redirect or refresh function based on a time delay (for example, if a webpage has moved, do not redirect users to the new page after a certain amount of time).
  • Provide an option for turning off all but ‘essential’ interruptions (see below).


The best thing you can do is eliminate all interruptions by default. Allow your users to interact with webpages naturally and don’t try to surprise or manipulate them. If you can’t capture your users’ interest without a pop-up, you have bigger problems than Level AAA.

If you must use a pop-up, make sure that keyboard focus is on the window-closing ‘X’ icon in the corner that closes the pop-up. This means keyboard users can close the new window. When they do close it, return focus to the place on the page they were at before the pop-up appeared.


Warnings about a user’s health, safety or the security of their data or property as they are considered ‘essential’ (I’m not sure how a website would know if your house was about to explode, but let’s not ban it from trying to tell you!).

See also


About Author

I'm Luke, I started Wuhcag in 2012 to help people like you get to grips with web accessibility. Check out my book, 'How to Meet the WCAG 2.0'.
  • Eric Scoles

    A lot of US state and federal websites are required to adhere to redirect policies that MANDATE time-delayed redirects in some circumstances — specifically, in my experience, when pointing to any website outside of the relevant [.state].gov domain, and sometimes whenever pointing to any website outside of the local domain (e.g. ‘’).

    It’s supposed to provide transparency and warning when users are passing outside of the ‘trusted’ domain.

    (I don’t personally agree with the practice, but the requirement is a fact of life for a lot of people working on US government sites.)

    • Thanks for this point Eric – I didn’t know that.

      • Eric Scoles

        It’s ill-advised, IMO, but I understand the goal (greater transparency) — i’m just not sure it actually achieves it.