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Synopsis

  1. If you need to redirect users to a new Web address, then a static page with a link is recommended over a page with a timed redirect.
    WCAG 2.0 Guideline 2.2—"Provide users enough time to read and use content."
  2. When using redirects or forms requiring a timed response, make sure adequate response time is given for mobility impaired users, users with screen readers and readers with cognitive impairments. All of these audiences require extra time to process instructions.
  3. If you need to implement a permanent redirect for a URL, it is recommended that you use the "HTTP status code 301" on a server, rather than the <meta http-type="refresh" > tag. The 301 code is more standard, although it can only be implemented by a server administrator.
  4. If your Web site is set to automatically log a user out after a certain period of inactivity, make sure the Web site gives a warning with a reasonable window of opportunity for the user to choose to stay connected (e.g. 20 seconds to press a key).
  5. Avoid using redirects to circumvent navigation buttons. It is possible to code your Web page so that when users click on the Back button, they are redirected back to the current page, instead of going to the previous page. This is generally considered both non-usable and non-accessible because it interferes with the standard protocols of a browser, and could cause confusion for many users.

Permanent Redirects Versus Temporary Redirects

A permanent redirect, which directs users from one Web address to another, can be automated to be instantaneous. Since this redirect path will be maintained permanently and is meant to be transparent to users, there is no need to provide any time lag.

An Automatic Permanent Redirect for ANGEL

An example of a permanent redirect is angel.psu.edu (for the ANGEL Course Management System), which automatically redirects users to the true ANGEL Web address, cms.psu.edu.

Click on http://angel.psu.edu to see the redirect in action.

A temporary redirect is one that is implemented after a Web site has changed its permanent address. The purpose of this kind of redirect is to inform users that an address is changing, and that bookmarks and links should be updated.

Since information about the redirect needs to be read and digested by users, an untimed static page with the new URL is recommended over a timed redirect. See the example below.

Accessible Page Announcing New URL

This page announces the new URL as a link, instead of doing a timed redirect.

The TLT Cyberplagiarism Web site has been moved to:

http://tlt.its.psu.edu/plagiarism

Please visit the new URL to view the updated Web page.

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