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!).