Success Criterion 2.2.1: Timing Adjustable

Understanding Success Criterion: 

For each time limit that is set by the content, at least one of the following is true:

  • 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.

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.

Intent of Success Criterion: 

The intent of this Success Criterion is to ensure that users with disabilities are given adequate time to interact with Web content whenever possible. People with disabilities such as blindness, low vision, dexterity impairments, and cognitive limitations may require more time to read content or to perform functions such as filling out on-line forms. If Web functions are time-dependent, it will be difficult for some users to perform the required action before a time limit occurs. This may render the service inaccessible to them. Designing functions that are not time-dependent will help people with disabilities succeed at completing these functions. Providing options to disable time limits, customize the length of time limits, or request more time before a time limit occurs helps those users who require more time than expected to successfully complete tasks. These options are listed in the order that will be most helpful for the user. Disabling time limits is better than customizing the length of time limits, which is better than requesting more time before a time limit occurs.
Any process that happens without user initiation after a set time or on a periodic basis is a time limit. This includes partial or full updates of content (for example, page refresh), changes to content, or the expiration of a window of opportunity for a user to react to a request for input.
It also includes content that is advancing or updating at a rate beyond the user's ability to read and/or understand it. In other words, animated, moving or scrolling content introduces a time limit on a users ability to read content.
In some cases, however, it is not possible to change the time limit (for example, for an auction or other real-time event) and exceptions are therefore provided for those cases.
Notes regarding server time limits

  • Timed server redirects can be found below under Common Failures.
  • Non-timed server redirects (e.g., 3xx response codes) are not applicable because there is no time limit: they work instantly.
  • This Success Criterion applies only to time limits that are set by the content itself. For example, if a time limit is included in order to address security concerns, it would be considered to have been set by the content because it is designed to be part of the presentation and interaction experience for that content. Time limits set externally to content, such as by the user agent or by factors intrinsic to the Internet are not under the author's control and not subject to WCAG conformance requirements. Time limits set by Web servers should be under the author's/organization's control and are covered. (Success Criteria 2.2.3, 2.2.4 and 2.2.5 may also apply.)
  • Ten times the default was chosen based on clinical experience and other guidelines. For example, if 15 seconds is allowed for a user to respond and hit a switch, 150 seconds would be sufficient to allow almost all users to hit a switch even if they had trouble.
  • 20 seconds was also based on clinical experience and other guidelines. 20 seconds to hit 'any switch' is sufficient for almost all users including those with spasticity. Some would fail, but some would fail all lengths of time. A reasonable period for requesting more time is required since an arbitrarily long time can provide security risks to all users, including those with disabilities, for some applications. For example, with kiosks or terminals that are used for financial transactions, it is quite common for people to walk away without signing off. This leaves them vulnerable to those walking up behind them. Providing a long period of inactivity before asking, and then providing a long period for the person to indicate that they are present can leave terminals open for abuse. If there is no activity the system should ask if the user is there. It should then ask for an indication that a person is there ('hit any key') and then wait long enough for almost anyone to respond. For "hit any key," 20 seconds would meet this. If the person indicates that they are still present, the device should return the user to the exact condition that existed before it asked the question.
  • 20 hours was chosen as an upper limit because it is longer than a full waking day.

In cases where timing is not an intrinsic requirement but giving users control over timed events would invalidate the outcome, a third party can control the time limits for the user (for example, granting double time on a test).
See also Understanding Success Criterion 2.2.3 No Timing.

Specific Benefits of Success Criterion: 
  • People with physical disabilities often need more time to react, to type and to complete activities. People with low vision need more time to locate things on screen and to read. People who are blind and using screen readers may need more time to understand screen layouts, to find information and to operate controls. People who have cognitive or language limitations need more time to read and to understand. People who are deaf and communicate in sign language may need more time to read information printed in text (which may be a second language for some).
  • In circumstances where a sign-language interpreter may be relating audio content to a user who is deaf, control over time limits is also important.
  • People with reading disabilities, cognitive limitations, and learning disabilities who may need more time to read or comprehend information can have additional time to read the information by pausing the content.