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Web Accessibility Policy of the State of Maine

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Implementation Guidelines

16. Window Control

16.1 – Avoid automatically opening new windows.

What:
It is possible to cause hypertext links to open pages in a new browser window, or to automatically open additional windows when a page loads or unloads.

Why:
It may not always be obvious to users, especially those with limited vision, blindness, or cognitive disabilities, when a new window has opened. It can be confusing when features such as the browser's "back" button no longer work as expected.

How:
Clearly identify any links that will open new windows by providing an indication in the link text or title attributes. In more complex web sites or applications, you may want to consider allowing users to select their preference for whether links are opened in new windows or not.

Ref: WCAG 10.1

16.2 - Do not automatically refresh the current page.

What:
It is possible to cause web pages to automatically re-load their content on a certain interval. For example, a page containing news headlines might refresh every few minutes to present the most current items.

Why:
When a page automatically refreshes, it can cause a screen reader to re-start reading from the beginning of the page.

How:
Do not use HTTP-EQUIV="refresh". If necessary, provide a link or control to allow the user to refresh a page at his or her discretion.

Ref: WCAG 7.4

16.3 - Notify users of time limits and provide a means to extend time if needed.

What:
Some web pages, frequently those that require a user to log in with an ID and password, "reset" themselves after a certain period of inactivity. Typically, any form entries that have been partially completed are erased and the user must start over.

Why:
Users with visual, physical, or cognitive disabilities may require more time than average to read and interact with a web page.

How:
Provide a clear explanation of any time limits and offer the user a way to extend or remove the limits if necessary. Avoid using time limits unnecessarily.

Ref: WCAG 7.5; 508 p