Web pages with a fixed time limit do not give all users enough time to interact with the web content on a page. Some examples of timed activities include reading text that is moving or scrolling (for example, slideshows), completing a timed test, filling out a form before the session time limit runs out, or being redirected to a new page.
How to Fix
For each time limit on the page, at least one of the following must be true:
- Users can turn off the time limit before encountering it; or
- Users can adjust the time limit to at least 10 times the length of the default setting before encountering the time limit; or
- Users are 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"). Users are allowed to extend the time limit at least 10 times.
The only exceptions would be if:
- 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
- The time limit is essential and extending it would invalidate the activity; or
- The time limit is longer than 20 hours.
Tips for Time Limits
- Allow users to pause and restart any moving or scrolling content. Ensure that the restart button causes the content to resume from the point where it started.
- If there is a mechanism that turns off time limits, ensure that the mechanism is near the top of the page. This can help people find and activate the mechanism more quickly.
- For a multipart form, consider providing a checkbox on the first page that allows user to ask for a longer or no session time limit.
Things to Avoid
- Do not use timed redirects to automatically redirect users to a new page. Redirects should be instant.