Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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F52: Failure of Success Criterion 3.2.1 and 3.2.5 due to opening a new window as soon as a new page is loaded

Important Information about Techniques

See Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria for important information about the usage of these informative techniques and how they relate to the normative WCAG 2.0 success criteria. The Applicability section explains the scope of the technique, and the presence of techniques for a specific technology does not imply that the technology can be used in all situations to create content that meets WCAG 2.0.


Applies when scripting is used to open new windows.

This failure relates to:


Some Web sites open a new window when a page is loaded, to advertise a product or service. The objective of this technique is to ensure that pages do not disorient users by opening up one or more new windows that automatically attain focus as soon as a page is loaded.


Note: There are multiple methods by which this failure may be triggered. Two common examples that are supported differently in various versions of user agents are listed as examples below.

Failure Example 1:

The following example is commonly used in HTML 4.01 to open new windows when pages are loaded.

Example Code:

window.onload = showAdvertisement;
 function showAdvertisement()
 {'advert.html', '_blank', 'height=200,width=150');

Failure Example 2:

The following example commonly used in XHTML to open new windows when pages are loaded.

Example Code:

if (window.addEventListener) { 
    window.addEventListener("load", showAdvertisement, true);
if (window.attachEvent) {
    window.attachEvent("onload", showAdvertisement);
function showAdvertisement()
{'noscript.html', '_blank', 'height=200,width=150');


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  1. load a new page

  2. check to see whether a new window has been opened as a result of loading the new page

  3. Check to see whether the new window is automatically given focus

Expected Results