Screen Reader Refresh Necessary to Show Content

Short Description

Screen reader does not recognize a change in content until it has been refreshed

Long Description

  • When content changes without reloading a page, there needs to be a trigger to make the screen reader aware of the new content. A screen reader user is, for the most part, only aware of content where the focus is at the time, unless there is some other noise to indicate activity elsewhere on the page.
  • Content can change visually without the screen reader being aware of the change. One way to learn about the change is through refreshing the screen reader once or even multiple times.
  • It is problematic to rely on the user refreshing the screen reader, because they might not know the content changed, so they are unaware they should search for new content.
  • Sometimes a screen reader must be refreshed multiple times in order to display the new content, whereas a user might give up after the first attempt.
  • Sometimes refreshing the screen reader too many times will lead to the new content disappearing, once again making it inaccessible.
  • Sometimes, even after a screen reader becomes aware of new content, it still is not possible to navigate to it with the keyboard. A screen reader user predominantly navigates with the keyboard.

    Example of Issue

    Accessibility/Usability

    Accessibility
    Usability

    Impacted Assistive Technology

    Screen Reader

    Impacted Type of Device

    Computer
    Mobile

    Recommendations

    • Use appropriate code so changes trigger a notification to the screen reader.
    • Make sure the notifications are appropriate according to the urgency of the change. For example, a dynamic advertisement should not interrupt other activities on a page, whereas a user should immediately be aware of an error in a form field.
    • Learn more about a screen reader's interaction with new content in the article Dynamic Content on the Accessibility and Usability site.