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Opens in a new window and 3.2.2 On Input

From: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2018 11:43:19 -0600
To: WAI-IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: Ramakrishnan Subramanian <ram.eict2013@gmail.com>
Message-Id: <OF1890F125.39A436D8-ON86258234.005A4842-86258234.00615A71@notes.na.collabserv.com>
Regarding the question from Ramakrishnan

3. Links which open in a new window:
When there is no indication for the screen reader users for the link
which opens in a new window, is that considered an accessibility
violation? If yes, which criteria does this issue violate?

3.2.2 On Input: Changing the setting of any user interface component does 
not automatically cause a change of context unless the user has been 
advised of the behavior before using the component. (Level A) 

Note: This Success Criterion covers changes in context due to changing the 
setting of a control. Clicking on links or tabs in a tab control is 
activating the control, not changing the setting of that control. 

[later in the Success Criteria it says:]

Specific Benefits of Success Criterion 3.2.2:
. . . Individuals who are unable to detect changes of context are less 
likely to become disoriented while navigating a site. For example:
Individuals who are blind or have low vision may have difficulty knowing 
when a visual context change has occurred, such as a new window popping 
up. In this case, warning users of context changes in advance minimizes 
confusion when the user discovers that the back button no longer behaves 
as expected.

In my opinion the Note and the Benefits are conflicting.  The SC is about 
changing the setting of any user interface component not about clicking a 
link.  Most agree that clicking a link by definition causes a change of 
context, period, whether in a new window or same window.  The question 
that then comes up often is the need for clarification on what is the web 
developers responsibility, the target of WCAG.  What has to be in the 
content and code of the web page to warn the user vs what is the 
responsibility of the browser and assistive technology?  Surely no one is 
arguing that the user has to be warned in the webpage content that 
clicking a link will cause a new page to be loaded. 
        1. is it sufficient to pass 3.2.2 to simply code a target="_blank
"> to notify the browser & AT that the link will open in a new page, and 
then it is up to the user's browser setting and AT settings if they want 
to be notified when clicking the link that it is opening a new window or a 
new tab? 
        2. What data does anyone have that says that some users are or are 
NOT also caused confusion be adding text to the link "opens in a new 
window" when in fact their setting is to open in a new tab?  Does it open 
a new window or a new tab and how is the web content to know? Only the 
browser will know if and when a new window vs a tab will be opening.
        3. Why is opening a new window or tab any more or less confusing 
than clicking a link and loading a new page? 
        3. Are there not enough keyboard commands to navigate between tabs 
and browser windows and previous pages? 

In other words, why require all links in the content that will open in a 
new window/tab to include this text abut "open in a new wondow" when the 
author/content has indeed provided enough information to the browser and 
AT for them to be able to then notify the user, if that is their 

I am advocating for the use of the additional text 'some of the time' when 
the audience is specifically know to prefer or benefit, but I am not 
advocating for the success criteria to fail if the additional text is 
*not* added.

Again, I am advocating for us to lobby the handful of browser to include a 
warning feature than trying to get billions of web pages to address this 

your thoughts?
Phill Jenkins
Received on Wednesday, 14 February 2018 17:43:46 UTC

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