4.1.3 Status Changes (AA)

Success Criterion 4.1.3 Status Messages (Level AA):

In content implemented using markup languages, status messages can be programmatically determined through role or properties such that they can be presented to the user by assistive technologies without receiving focus.

Intent

When new information appears on-screen without receiving focus, it should be coded as a status message so that assistive technologies can alert the user to the information. Otherwise, users may not hear the new information if they use a screen reader, or see the information if they use a screen magnifier and it appears outside of their view.

Exceptions:

none

Who it helps:

Blind and low-vision users who use screen readers and may not notice the addition of alert text to a screen.

“I selected a class for the conference, but I can't tell if it got added to my schedule.”
- Accountant who is blind and uses a screen reader

Example:

A screen reader user completed a purchase in an online store. The page updates to say that the purchase has been processed successfully, but the update message does not receive user focus. If the updated content is coded as an alert, then the user can be informed that their purchase was successful without moving their keyboard focus. If it is not coded as an alert, then the user may not know whether the purchase was successful, or may have to tab all the way through the page again to learn this information.