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Accessible Social

New Tabs and Windows

According to the WCAG, it’s a best practice to not have links open a new window or tab because it can be confusing for people who have difficulty perceiving visual content. However, there are some scenarios where a link opening a new window is preferable for privacy and security reasons. Here are two such situations as outlined by the WCAG:

  • Opening a page containing context-sensitive information, such as help instructions or an alternate means of completing a form like a calendar-based date picker, will significantly disrupt a multi-step workflow, such as completing and submitting a form, if the page is opened in the same window or tab.
  • If the user is logged into a secured area of a site, following a link to a window outside of the secured area would terminate the user’s logon. In this case opening external links in an external window allows the user to access such references while keeping their secure login active in the original window.

It is recommended that you provide advance warning to users when a link is going to open in a new window or tab. You can do this either through literal copy in your content or a window that pops up with a short warning message.

Additional Resources and Reading

Want to learn a little more about digital accessibility? Check out the links below!

Accessibility Myths
Sergei Kriger