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Re: Opening a link in a new window...

From: Thanasis Kinias <tkinias@optimalco.com>
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 2002 15:14:32 -0700
To: Charles Walker <cewalker@kingston.net>
Cc: www-validator@w3.org
Message-ID: <20020421151432.A759@glaux.ph.cox.net>
scripsit Charles Walker:
> One more question: Validator doesn't allow the "target" attribute of
> an anchor tag in strict HTML 4.01; while not deprecated, it's
> considered "loose DTD", and is therefore unacceptable.  

> Therefore how, in Strict HTML 4.01, do you target a link to a new
> window?

The short answer is:  you don't.

The long answer is that targeting a link to open in a new window
violates the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines [1], and (if you're in
the United States or other country with comparable antidiscrimination
legislation) is quite possibly illegal under federal civil rights law.
Radical changes of focus in a GUI environment are extremely disorienting
to blind users who are navigating by screen reader, and thus can be
considered discrimination against the visually impaired.  Opening a link
in a new window also breaks the `back' button on the browser, preventing
back-tracking in navigation.  (It also bypasses the tabbed navigation in
Galeon and Mozilla, irritating users of that feature.)

If your user wants to open the link in a new window, he or she can do so
quite easily with most browsers; there is no need to force the issue.
It's about leaving the user the freedom to navigate in the way that
works best for him or her.

It's not unusual for a designer never to have thought about such issues;
that's why we have the WCAG to point out to us things we might otherwise


1. <http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG1/>

Thanasis Kinias
Web Developer, Information Technology
Graduate Student, Department of History
Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona, U.S.A.

Ash nazg durbatulūk, ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulūk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul
Received on Sunday, 21 April 2002 18:15:21 UTC

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