For each time limit that is set by the content, at least one of the following is true: (Level A)
- Turn off: The user is allowed to turn off the time limit before encountering it; or
- Adjust: The user is allowed to adjust the time limit before encountering it over a wide range that is at least ten times the length of the default setting; or
- Extend: The user is warned before time expires and given at least 20 seconds to extend the time limit with a simple action (for example, “press the space bar”), and the user is allowed to extend the time limit at least ten times; or
- Real-time Exception: The time limit is a required part of a real-time event (for example, an auction), and no alternative to the time limit is possible; or
- Essential Exception: The time limit is essential and extending it would invalidate the activity; or
- 20 Hour Exception: The time limit is longer than 20 hours.
People with blindness, low vision, dexterity impairments, and cognitive limitations may face difficulty in accessing or interacting with the content that moves, refreshes or expires after a certain period of time. Users should be allowed enough time to read web content, interact with it and perform the intended action. Due to many reasons such as security, websites expires the logged in session of the user after certain period of inactivity. When the functionalities such as session time out is present in the website, it should be intimated to the user immediately after logging in. It should also provide instruction for the user to turn off or extend the time limit. In many cases turning off the session timeout is not acceptable, so providing options such as allowing the user to extend the time limit, intimate the user before the time limit occurs and allow to extend the session with a simple action such as hitting a spacebar or enter key etc should be provided.
Any functionality change, content change either to the entire page or portions of the page after a set time or periodically without user intervention is a failure. Any content that updates or changes quickly without giving enough time for the user to read is a failure. A carrousel that changes automatically without giving enough time for the user to read the content or interact with the elements on the website is a failure.
Re-directions that are not under control of content or servers are exempted from this requirement. Any refresh, redirection or auto-update that is part of the content or under the control of the authors or organizations fall under this requirement.
In many cases time out functionality will not be exempted from the core functionalities of the website due to security reasons. Banking, Insurance websites are examples of such website. After a certain period of inactivity the system to should know if the user is available or not. In such case the website will send an alert asking the user to respond. Upon confirmation of the user the session continues. At this point the user should be returned to the exact condition as earlier.
How to address timing adjustable
Following are few ways of addressing scenarios that are dependent on timing. The options are provided on the priority. The first solution is recommended in the first place, if it is not possible use the second solution and so on.
- Provide the user to disable the time limit before the time limit occurs (probably immediately after logging into the portal).
- Customizing the time limit to allow the user to completely read the content or interact with the functionality of the page.
- Allowing the user to request for more time before the time limit completes.
Note: This success criterion helps ensure that users can complete tasks without unexpected changes in content or context that are a result of a time limit. This success criterion should be considered in conjunction with Success Criterion 3.2.1, which puts limits on changes of content or context as a result of user action.