Giving users advanced warning when opening a new window

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 2.1 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 2.1.

Applicability

Pages that open new windows

This technique relates to:

Description

The objective of this technique is to provide a warning before automatically opening a new window or tab. Opening new windows automatically when a link is activated can be disorienting for people who have difficulty perceiving visual content, and for some people with cognitive disabilities, if they are not warned in advance. Providing a warning allows the user to decide it they want to leave the current window, and the warning will help them find their way back, if they do decide they would like to go to the new window. It will help them understand that the "back" button will not work and that they have to return to the last window they had open, in order to find their previous location.

Examples

Example 1: Including the warning in the text describing a control

The name or label that describes a control can include the warning about opening in a new window.

              <a href="knitting.html" target="_blank">All about Knitting 
                (opens in new window)</a>
            

Example 2: Using CSS to provide a warning before opening a new window

The code below uses CSS to provide a warning before opening a new window.

              <html>
                <head>
                <title>Pop-Up Warning</title>
                <style type="text/css">
                body {
                margin-left:2em;
                margin-right:2em;
                }
                :focus { outline: 0; }
                a.info {
                position:relative;
                z-index:24;
                background-color:#ccc;
                color:#000;
                text-decoration:none
                }
                a.info:hover, a.info:focus, a.info:active {
                z-index:25;
                background-color:#ff0
                }
                a.info span {
                position: absolute;
                left: -9000px;
                width: 0;
                overflow: hidden;
                }
                a.info:hover span, a.info:focus span, a.info:active span {
                display:block;
                position:absolute;
                top:1em; left:1em; width:12em;
                border:1px solid #0cf;
                background-color:#cff;
                color:#000;
                text-align: center
                }
                div.example {
                margin-left: 5em;
                }
                </style>
                </head>
                <body>
                <h1>Pop-Up Warning</h1>
                <p> This is an example of an <a class="info"
                href="popup_advisory_technique.html" target="_blank">
                <strong>External link</strong><span>Opens a new
                window</span></a>
                </p>
                </body>
                </html>
            

A working example of Using CSS to provide a warning before opening a new window is available.

Tests

Procedure

For each link that opens automatically in a new window or tab when a change of context is initiated by a user request:

  1. Check that there is a warning spoken in assistive technology that this link opens to a new window.
  2. Check that there is a visual warning in text that this link opens to a new window.

Expected Results

  • Checks #1 and check #2 are true.