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Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Last updated on 23 August 2012

May 9 marks Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

To celebrate, I’d like to recap on an experiment in identifying external links, which stemmed from a discussion on the accessibility issues with links that open a new browser window. Originally posted 20 July 2011.

Testing external links up in here. Actually, it all started with a question from Glenda [External Link] about the accessibility of using CSS to announce a new window, based on an external link example [External Link]. Steve [External Link] was there to help. The rest is history.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Pellentesque id dolor sit amet quam consequat tempus. Duis ante arcu, cursus sit amet consectetur eget, accumsan sit amet nulla. Google [External Link] metus urna, egestas ut imperdiet sed, pretium in nibh. Phasellus felis dolor, ullamcorper eu dignissim in, lobortis ut libero. Donec interdum auctor suscipit. Aliquam erat volutpat. Proin libero ligula, pharetra a tincidunt sit amet, ultrices a eros. Curabitur condimentum, Google [External Link] sit amet cursus pellentesque, ligula dui pharetra arcu, non aliquet tellus libero et leo. Cras gravida congue dui, a mattis nisl congue nec. Donec in sapien neque. Maecenas Google [External Link] porttitor aliquam. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Aliquam ac turpis ut mi cursus pellentesque. Suspendisse potenti. Ut sit amet sem ante, in ultrices dui.

Thank you to Glenda [External Link] and Steve [External Link] for your help on this. Just when I thought I knew everything!


a[rel="external"] {
background: url(gfx/Icon_External_Link.png) 100% 50% no-repeat;
padding-right: 1.0em;
z-index: 48;

a[rel="external"]:active {
z-index: 49;

a[rel="external"] .ol,
a[rel="external"]:link .ol {
position: absolute;
width: 0;
height: 0;
overflow: hidden;
z-index: 50;
text-decoration: none;

a[rel="external"]:focus .ol,
a[rel="external"]:hover .ol {
float: right;
background: pink;
width: auto;
height: auto;
border: solid 1px pink;
margin-left: 1.5em;
margin-top: 0.5em;
padding: 0.2em;
overflow: visible;
-moz-border-radius: 0.5em;
-webkit-border-radius: 0.5em;
border-radius: 0.5em;
box-shadow: 0.5em 0.5em 0.5em #000;

a[rel="external"]:focus .ol:before,
a[rel="external"]:hover .ol:before {
position: absolute;
width: 0;
height: 0;
border-top: 1px solid transparent;
border-right: 20px solid pink;
border-bottom: 15px solid transparent;
margin: 0 0 0 -20px;


<li><a href="" rel="external">Google<span class="ol"> [External Link]</span></a></li>

Is this the most accessible method for identifying external links and / or opening a new browser window? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day!