‘Status messages’ requires website to alert users to changes in content that aren’t given focus.


Users with visual impairments and low vision can benefit from status messages to inform them of changes, results or processes that aren’t clear from a change of context. Adding clear messages can help these users understand and gain further context about the action they’re taking.

Assigning a role to a status message means that it can be announced by screen reader or other assistive technology.

How to Pass ‘Status Messages’

A ‘status message’ is a special term used for these guidelines, meaning something that provides information to the user on the:

  • results of an action;
  • waiting state of an application;
  • progress of a process; or
  • existence of errors.

The message is also defined as one not delivered by a change in context.

Where you use a status message, ensure it as assigned an appropriate ARAI role of “status” or “alert”.

‘Status Messages’ Tips

This can be a little difficult to understand, so here’s an example:

A user searches the website for store locations.

The list of results is a change in context, so not a ‘status message’.

However, a text displayed about the status of the search such as “Now searching…” would be a ‘status message’.

See Also

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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'.

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