Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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H83: Using the target attribute to open a new window on user request and indicating this in link text


HTML 4.01 Transitional and XHTML 1.0 Transitional

This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to avoid confusion that may be caused by the appearance of new windows that were not requested by the user. Suddenly opening new windows can disorientate or be missed completely by some users. In HTML 4.01 Transitional and XHTML 1.0 Transitional, the target attribute can be used to open a new window, instead of automatic pop-ups. (The target attribute is deleted from HTML 4.01 Strict and XHTML 1.0 Strict.) Note that not using the target allows the user to decide whether a new window should be opened or not. Use of the target attribute provides an unambiguously machine-readable indication that a new window will open. User agents can inform the user, and can also be configured not to open the new window. For those not using assistive technology, the indication would also be available from the link text.


Example 1

The following example illustrates the use of the target attribute in a link that indicates it will open in a new window.

Example Code:

<a href="help.html" target="_blank">Show Help (opens new window)</a>



  1. Activate each link in the document to check if it opens a new window.

  2. For each link that opens a new window, check that it uses the target attribute.

  3. Check that the link text contains information indicating that the link will open in a new window.

Expected Results

If this is a sufficient technique for a success criterion, failing this test procedure does not necessarily mean that the success criterion has not been satisfied in some other way, only that this technique has not been successfully implemented and can not be used to claim conformance.

Techniques are Informative

Techniques are informative—that means they are not required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard—not the techniques. For important information about techniques, please see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.