Make time limits adjustable or not essential

Example of being able to extend a time limit
Image description: graphic illustration of an internet browser open to a webpage. The title says, "Reserve your seat" and text below says, "You have 06:27 minutes left to fill out your info and reserve your seat." The black button below says, "Extend time by 10 minutes."

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Why This is Important

Not requiring time limits is accessible for people who require more time to complete tasks, e.g. folks with ADD/ADHD, motor impairments, low vision, etc.

Blind and visually impaired people use screen readers to interact with websites and apps. A screen reader is a type of assistive tech that converts things on screen to audio and/or braille. It's important that things are understandable and interactive to screen readers.

Keyboard accessibility is essential for people who do not use a computer mouse (which might be because they have unpredictable or very specific movement due to a motor disability). Many Blind and visually impaired people also use keyboard interactions in order to use their screen reader.

Error support is accessible to people with a diversity of disabilities. A cognitive disability might affect how a person perceives and understands things. A physical disability might lead to unpredictable movement. Other factors such as environment, stress, and multi-tasking may also lead to errors.

In order to be accessible, gestures and interactions must account for people with physical and motor disabilities, who might have unpredictable or very specific movement.

Not requiring time limits is also accessible for people who are multi-tasking, in a busy environment, or could get distracted by something. By making time limits adjustable or not required, we are extending access to a diversity of disabilities and situations.

This references WCAG criteria 2.2.1 Timing Adjustable (Level A) and 2.2.3 No Timing (Level AAA).

Level AAA compliance is considered more difficult to meet because it requires more resources to fulfill. It also might encompass conflicting access needs (meaning what is accessible to some might be inaccessible to others). Use your best judgment of your target audience and your team's capabilities to determine if this is a pragmatic goal to reach.

How to Implement This

Don't require a time limit

The easiest way to fulfill this guideline is by not requiring a time limit at all. Keep this in mind during the design and planning phases of work. This would lead to Level AAA compliance.

Provide a way to extend or turn off the time limit

There are certain user experiences where a time limit is considered necessary because supply is limited (e.g. buying concert tickets) or for security reasons (e.g. bank account login session).

In these instances, W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) recommends giving users the ability to extend or turn off the time limit. This can be achieved in a banner or message that notifies users of their time limit (e.g. "You have 8:20 minutes left") and a button (e.g. "Extend by 10 minutes").

Other recommendations for timing:

How to Test This

Manual Test
Semi-Automated Test
Automated Test
  • Check for the presence of a time limit.
  • If there is a time limit, make note of a way to extend or turn it off.


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