You are here:
  • Home
  • Avoid forcing links to open in a new window

Avoid forcing to open in a new window

Wheel Chair Icon: Universal Icon Symbol of AccessibilityActually you should avoid forcing links to open in a new window or pop ups (such as with the "target" attribute or with Java Script).

As you might know, Java Script is not supported by all browsers and some users disable it. When Java Script is used, it should not be relied upon. In such cases you will disable your visitor to access your content.

You should avoid as far as possible implementing Java Script, to avoid running risks on complications on the end users machines, or while government and other employees are required to disable this feature, for security or other reasons.

Also there is a number of users who are very concerned about security issues and disable this feature too.

The issue here is not only concerning users disabling Java Script in their browsers. How many do so? 8%? What about cell phone users? How about sight impaired users?

For those for whom changing the current window or popping up new windows can be very disorienting, because they cannot see that this has happened. And what percent are they?

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.

Java Script in links

What does the usability professional Jakob Nielsen say about all this?

Links are the Web's basic building blocks, and users' ability to understand them and to use various browser features correctly is key to enhancing their on-line skills.

Links that don't behave as expected undermine users' understanding of their own system. A link should be a simple hypertext reference that replaces the current page with new content. Users hate unwarranted pop-up windows. When they want the destination to appear in a new page, they can use their browser's "open in new window" command - assuming, of course, that the link is not a piece of code that interferes with the browser’s standard behavior.

Users deserve to control their own destiny. Computers that behave consistently empower people by letting them use their own tools and wield them accurately. More at

Opening a new window with Java Script disabled

You can achieve opening a new window, even if Java Script is disabled in your browser.

If you want to do so, see in which cases it would make sense, as Neil Turner describes in his article "Beware of Opening Links in a New Window", published at

So if you absolutely must open a link in a new window, explicitly warn the user with a clear indication that the page will open in a different window.

Provide a title attribute on the anchor tag with a description indicating that the "link opens a new window", adding a certain icon would be even more convenient.

Notice:This article was written by John Britsios, Web Architect & Senior SEO Consultant here at Webnauts Net and SEO Workers - Expert SEO Company.

It may be reproduced on a web site, CD-ROM, e-zine, book, magazine, etc. so long permission is received from Webnauts Net and the author's name is included in full, and, if the reproduction is by electronic media, a link back to this web site is included.

Bookmark this page. If Javascript turned on, a new window opens. Add to