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Re: External Link Icons
From: J M
Date: Oct 2, 2007 9:50AM
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The best method might be a combination of sorts. Given the resources, I would test using an external link icon along with a speedbump page. Not that it was mentioned, but I would recommend against a timer on the speedbump page. Upon reaching the speedbump, If the user does not want to leave the site, the time may not give them enough time to undo their previous move.
Assistive Technology Resource Center
Colorado State University
I have found problems with the "speedbump page" usage and with WCAG, Priority 2. Automatically redirecting after a few seconds on the speedbump page goes against WCAG compliance.
WCAG 1.0 specifies, "Until user agents provide the ability to stop auto-redirect, do not use markup to redirect pages automatically"... for obvious cognitive and reading level reasoning, primarily.
I found that it is extremely inconvenient and goes against usability principles to require a manual click again to confirm or to continue to a link internally or external. More importantly, one problem of using such technique is that it complicates administration and validating of links. Links will falsely validate because the "speedbump" page is valid, however the actual link (off site) may not be a valid link. Progressive link validation usually references the "speedbump" page as the broken link source and not the actual broken markup page, making link validation extremely difficult to resolve.
On the positive side the speedbump is a central location to provide policy statements and access to required tools and viewers for any/all such required viewer (PDF viewer & online tools, Powerpoint viewer, etc.), if necessary.
For regular users of such sites this becomes a time consuming hindrance or un-necessary hoops to maneuver through.
The "speedbump" or Good-bye (as I call it) techniques may resolve some problems but I found it creates others as well.
For what ever it's worth here's a speedbump or good-bye example test page demonstrating a perl scipt that evaluates links and can display a custom speedbump/good-bye message dependent on the link extension identifier for concept demonstration purposes (e.g. .pdf, .mov, doc, ppt.): http://www.researchutilization.org/temp/testgb.html