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Technique F22:Failure of Success Criterion 3.2.5 due to opening windows that are not requested by the user

About this Technique

This technique relates to 3.2.5: Change on Request (Failure).

This failure applies to all technologies.


Failure due to opening new windows when the user does not expect them. New windows take the focus away from what the user is reading or doing. This is fine when the user has interacted with a piece of User Interface and expects to get a new window, such as an options dialogue. The failure comes when pop-ups appear unexpectedly.


Example 1

When a user navigates to a page, a new window appears over the existing user agent window, and the focus is moved to the new window.

Example 2

A user clicks on a link, and a new window appears. The original link has no associated text saying that it will open a new window.

Example 3

A user clicks on the body of a page and a new window appears. No indication that the area that was clicked has functionality is present.

Example 4

A user clicks on undecorated text within the page and a new window appears. The page has no visible indication that the area is functional.



  1. Load the Web page.
  2. Check if new (additional) windows open.
  3. Find every actionable element, such as links and buttons, in the Web page.
  4. Activate each element.
  5. Check if activating the element opens a new window.
  6. Check if elements that open new windows have associated text saying that will happen. The text can be displayed in the link, or available through a hidden association such as an HTML title attribute.

Expected Results

  • If step #2 is true, the failure condition applies and the content fails the Success Criterion
  • If step #5 is true and step #6 is false, the failure condition applies and the content fails the Success Criterion
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