The Issues

Pop-up windows can add functionality to a Web site, but must utilize accessible scripting. Further, the site should still be functional even if JavaScript is disabled. Also, be aware that many users with visual browsers use pop up blockers in order to avoid pop-up advertising.

JavaScript pop-up windows should only be used if they add a significant advantage in functionality.


  1. If you do open a new window or new tab (with either the TARGET attribute or a script), then add a label that the link will open a new window/tab. Many users (on both screen readers and visual browsers) are confused when they do not realize a new window is open and are unable to use the “Back” button.
  2. Avoid disabling scroll bars and resizing options—readers with low vision may need to resize windows to accommodate larger text.
  3. provides a tutorial on creating an accessible pop-up window. However, this method should be tested before it’s used on a Penn State Web site.
  4. Provide a <noscript> alternative that uses a plain link to direct users with JavaScript disabled to the appropriate information.
  5. Provide both a regular link and a pop-up link when possible.

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