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Re: link opening a new window - techniques to advise the user

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 10:50:44 +0100
Message-ID: <20060622105044.76pfi66ryzsocs4o@www.splintered.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Quoting Antony Tennant <antonytennant@yahoo.co.uk>:

> 1. have wording in the hyperlink e.g <a href="foo.html">foo (this   
> open a new window)</a>
> 2. title attribute e.g. <a href="foo.html" title="foo - this open a   
> new window">foo</a>
> 3. dont open new windows
> My queries as follows
> Q1 -  Although option 1 seems to be preferred, this may not be   
> suitable for a menu of links,

You could wrap the "(opens in a new window)" bit in a SPAN and style  
it down to a discreet (but obvious enough) icon (using non-repeating  
CSS background image). Or add it as an IMG with that ALT attribute.

> therefore if option 2 is used, should  titles be added to all links  
> (even those not opening a window) for  consistency, or only those  
> that open the window, require more  descriptive text e.g apply.
> Example
> <a href="foo.html" title="foo - this open a new window">foo</a>
> <a href="boo.html" title="boo">boo</a>

I'd say that this isn't necessary, and possibly even  
counter-productive. It's been a while since I've looked into different  
screen readers and how they deal with titles, but I seem to recall  
that (depending on user settings), they may end up hearing both the  
link text and the title text, so doubling up like you do may get  
tedious. I'd only use advisory information in a title when there is  
some actual advisory information beyond the normal link text that  
needs to be conveyed.

> Q2 -  if titles are used in a menu, should they be used in text flow  
>  rather than adding the text within the hyperlink itself. Again does  
>  this need to be consistent.

I'm confused...you talk of titles, but then speak of text flow and  
text within the hyperlink. I'm assuming "titles" in this context  
refers to the "(opens in a new window)" text, and not the title  
attribute per se? In which case, I'd say that, IMHO, it should be part  
of the link text itself: if you place it as text after the actual  
link, screen reader users would not hear that information until after  
they were on the link...so they may already activate the link, and  
never get to the info that tells them it opens in a new window. Also,  
placing it in front of the link may not work if the users were tabbing  
from link to link.

Patrick H. Lauke
re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
www.splintered.co.uk | www.photographia.co.uk
Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
Received on Thursday, 22 June 2006 09:50:59 UTC

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