WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Popup windows and JAWS


From: Steven Henderson
Date: Oct 28, 2009 4:45AM

I have to say that I agree that how a window opens should be the user's
choice. The web browser is a single application instance that a user has
chosen to open. They expect 'it' to open as a new window because it is a
windowed application, but to then treat links within that browser instance
as additional application windows is just plain wrong (for the same reasons
Simius points out). Imagine if every action you wanted to carry out in your
daily applications such as bolding text in Word or using a tool in Photoshop
prompted a new window ... ouch, that'd be a real b*****d!

I think the target attribute belongs in history like mailto links (shudder).

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Simius Puer
Sent: 28 October 2009 10:03
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Popup windows and JAWS

...or simply don't open new windows in the first place - it's a dreadful

The "opens in a new window" title text added to a link only helps screen
readers. Most sighted users never see the title text on a link as it takes
a moment or two before it appears - usually long after they have already
clicked. Yes, you can use an icon to indicate a new window, but that can be
equally as confusing (and not always visually pleasing).

This is not just a question of accessibility but one of usability. I know
many people representing a wide age and ability range (all without any
significant disabilities) who get very confused, or annoyed, by new windows
or tabs opening without their permission. I've seen people walk away from
making purchases or using information sources simply because of this reason.

At the end of the day, if the user wants to open links in a new window they
can choose to do so themselves. Forcing their browser to behave as you want
it to is impolite, confusing and a poor user experience.

Anyone working with XHTML Strict will also discover that target="_blank" is
depreciated for this very reason (and just because you can do a hack-around
using JavaScript doesn't mean that you should).