WCAG 3.2.1 No Automatic Change on Focus

Nothing on a website should automatically change just because it receives focus.

What to do?

  • Check your website to make sure nothing automatically happens just because an interactive element (such as a link, form field, selectable option, etc.) is tabbed through or on
  • An automatic change can be a pop-up, switching focus to another element, or automatically taking action as if the user had initiated action (e.g. clicking a link, submitting a form, etc.) when all they had done was focus on an element


Plain English Explanation

You always want to put the user in control of your website’s content and functions.  This success criterion speaks to that by requiring that no elements automatically change just because they receive focus. For example, if you tab on the submit button after completing a form, the form should not automatically submit.  The form should only submit once you initiate action.

Here we’re just making sure our website only responds once the user initiates reaction, never because they shifted focus onto an element. One element to specifically investigate here is pop-ups that show on a website after X event has been detected. Most websites should not have a problem with this.