Pause, stop, hide

This criterion is about avoiding distracting content. The criterion states:

For moving, blinking, scrolling, or auto-updating information, all of the following are true:
Moving, blinking, scrolling
For any moving, blinking or scrolling information that
  1. starts automatically,
  2. lasts more than five seconds, and
  3. is presented in parallel with other content,
there is a mechanism for the user to pause, stop, or hide it unless the movement, blinking, or scrolling is part of an activity where it is essential; and
For any auto-updating information that
  1. starts automatically and
  2. is presented in parallel with other content,
there is a mechanism for the user to pause, stop, or hide it or to control the frequency of the update unless the auto-updating is part of an activity where it is essential.

What content does this apply to?

This criterion is about any content that involves motion or automatically updating content that could cause a distraction for users.

Moving, blinking, scrolling

There are many examples we could give of content that fits this description but here are a few:


Auto-updating content is where the text or other content on the page changes, usually on a timer. For example: news flashes, weather updates, pricing information.

What's the problem?

For some people, moving content can be very distracting. It can be so distracting that it prevents them from concentrating on the rest of the page. People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often find this difficult. It can also cause difficulties for people using a screen reader.

What should I do?

If you have any kind of moving content that lasts more than 5 seconds, you must always provide a way for the user to pause, stop or hide it. This must be easy to find and use, no matter how the content is being accessed. So someone using a screen reader must be able to find it and activate it quickly and easily, without being taken away from the main content.

Another way to manage this kind of content is to allow the user to start it themselves, rather than it being automatic. As a user, I much prefer this. I don't mind moving content but I would rather be in control of when it begins.

What other formats could this apply to?

This kind of content is often included in PowerPoint presentions. I would advise caution if slides are being used as part of a live presentation. It would be better to start the moving content on a click, and tell the audience first, what they are going to see.

I also frequently see automatic moving content in eLearning courses. The last thing you want in an eLearning course is to distract users so that they miss important information. I would always put the control with the user, allowing them to play content when they are ready. If you must have automatic content, then always make sure the pause or stop button is easy to find and operate.