Anti-Pattern: Open in New Window

Forcing links to open in a new window is an anti-pattern because we are taking control away from the user and forcing web-browsing behaviour upon them. If a user wishes to open a link in a new window, they can do so by using their mouse or keyboard shortcut, without our intervention.

If you must create a link that opens in a new window, screen reader users must be pre-warned of the behaviour. We achieve this with clipped suffix text:

<a href="http://www.ebay.com/shop" target="_blank">Shop Now<span class="clipped"> - opens in new window or tab</span></a>

Using an Icon

Ideally we should also warn sighted users of this behaviour. We can do this by adding the text to a foreground image:

<a href="http://www.ebay.com/shop" target="_blank">Shop Now<img src="new-window-icon.jpg" alt=" - opens in new window or tab" /></a>

Alternatively, using a CSS background image:

<a href="http://www.ebay.com/shop" target="_blank">Shop Now<span aria-label=" - opens in new window or tab" class="icon-new-window" role="img"></span></a>


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