2.29 Do not use mark-up to redirect pages automatically
WAI checkpoint 7.5
Full WAI text: "Until user agents provide the ability to stop auto-redirect, do not use mark-up to redirect pages automatically. Instead, configure the server to perform redirects."
User agents are software which people use to access Web content. These include graphical browsers, text-only browsers, voice browsers, mobile phones, multimedia players, plug-ins and assistive technologies such as screen readers, screen magnifiers and voice recognition software.
It is possible to create pages which automatically send or "direct" the user to a new web page, as if they were following a link. Auto-redirect links are often "invisible" in the sense that they are not presented as a choice on the page but are embedded in the HTML. This should be avoided at present, since not all user agents allow the user to disable auto-redirect.
Automatically redirecting to a new page can be very confusing and frustrating for users who may not be overly familiar with computers and using the web. Many people find auto-direct pages highly confusing because they take control of navigation away from users, who can quickly become disoriented and fail to grasp the structure of a site. Automatically directing to another page erodes a user's trust in a site as it takes away their control over the navigation and interaction.
Users read at different rates. It is highly disruptive and unsettling if the page refreshes before the user has had a chance to either determine the content of the page, or before they finish reading it. This can make pages or content unusable for people who have limited reading ability or difficulty concentrating because of noise, stress or a learning disorder. Auto redirect also causes problems for users of screen readers, which generally cannot cope with automatic re-directs and may fail to show any content at all.
Directions and Techniques
Configure the server to use the appropriate HTTP status code (301)
Using HTTP headers is preferable because it reduces Internet traffic and download times, it may be applied to non-HTML documents, and may be used by agents who requested only a HEAD request (e.g. link checkers). Also, status codes of the 30x type provide information such as "moved permanently" or "moved temporarily" that cannot be given with META refresh.
Avoid using the META element for automatic redirects
See the WAI description of why META should not be used to redirect or auto-refresh pages
Replace the page that would be redirected with a static page containing a normal link to the new page
Provide a static page with a link and, ideally, an explanation that the user will be directed to another page. This is good practice because it provides upfront information about the new page. Users will be less likely to become disoriented if they know what to expect. If you provide a link, ensure that the link title is meaningful.
How you could check for this:
There are no specific test methods recommended for this guideline.