Leaving Las Vegas...I mean the website site.

2 Oct 2009 - 9:55am
6 years ago
12 replies
744 reads
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

>
> [...] and I have learned that when you have a link that is
> internal you have that link open within the same window. On the other
> hand, I was taught that any link that you have that is a reference to
> an external website you should have the link open in an external
> window or tab if the user has that set up.

This practice has been debated for years. There are pros and cons to either
solution, and like every "rule", there are exceptions even if the practice
works well for you. The context, as usual, matters most. The best bet is to
come up with a standard for your site and then keep your eye out for
exceptions.

The usability of window management is always a concern, and until there's a
"target=_tab" attribute built into HTML and into every browser, and likely
even beyond that point, this will continue being a source of contention.

Comments

2 Oct 2009 - 10:07am
bminihan
2007

Just wishful thinking...wouldn't it be nice to say target="_iphone" or
target="_pda" or target="_maps"?

Bryan Minihan

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Robert
Hoekman Jr
Sent: Friday, October 02, 2009 10:55 AM
To: Brian
Cc: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Leaving Las Vegas...I mean the website site.

The usability of window management is always a concern, and until there's a
"target=_tab" attribute built into HTML and into every browser, and likely
even beyond that point, this will continue being a source of contention.

2 Oct 2009 - 10:25am
John Yuda
2009

Personally, I tend to get really irritated when a site tries to force
behavior on me like that. If I want to keep their page open and
follow the link in a new window or tab, I'll do that. Otherwise,
stop cluttering up my desktop.

I generally try to avoid impressing my personal preference onto
users, but this is one case where I simply cannot. That said, since
it is always possible for a user to open a page in a new tab or
window but not possible to suppress this behavior if they don't want
it, I think avoiding "target=_blank" is the better way to go anyway.

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5 Oct 2009 - 11:17pm
Kim Burgess
2009

The target="_blank" debate is an interesting one. Initially I
stopped using it as it wasn't included in the core XHTML 1.1
(although it can be added as module). Recently I've considered the
appropriateness of its use a lot more and settled on utilizing
unobtrusive JavaScript (JS) to give anchors which posses a "rel"
attribute with a value of "external" a behaviour which causes them
to open up in a fresh window. I'll also utilize JS append a small
graphic to the link that signifies it will open a new window and
append "(opens in a new window)" to the title attribute to give the
user some extra info in their tool-tip.

The nice thing about this method is that if the user's browser has
JS support active this additional behaviour and information will be
added, and if they don't they still have a link that acts nicely and
has the "rel" attribute defined in a meaningful way. By quickly
glancing at a link (or hovering over it to show the tool-tip) they
are alerted to the fact that it will open in a new window. It is also
very easy to allow users to disable this behaviour through some form
of preferences (either session or account).

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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6 Oct 2009 - 10:28am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 5 Oct 2009, at 21:17, Kim Burgess wrote:

> The target="_blank" debate is an interesting one. Initially I
> stopped using it as it wasn't included in the core XHTML 1.1
> (although it can be added as module). Recently I've considered the
> appropriateness of its use a lot more and settled on utilizing
> unobtrusive JavaScript (JS) to give anchors which posses a "rel"
> attribute with a value of "external" a behaviour which causes them
> to open up in a fresh window. I'll also utilize JS append a small
> graphic to the link that signifies it will open a new window and
> append "(opens in a new window)" to the title attribute to give the
> user some extra info in their tool-tip.
[snip]

I've never done a usability test where having external links open in
new windows has had a positive effect (outside of small informational
popups and comparisons where separate windows help.). At best it seems
to have no negative effect. At worst it causes annoyance and/or
confusion.

I've never looked at any web site logs where switching links to/from
opening in new windows has made any difference to the users length of
time on site, number of conversions, etc.

So - while doing this is obviously an improvement on surprising the
user with a new window - does it make it better than leaving them in
the same window? If not, why do we do it? Just to avoid the discussion
with the client on why it's not a good idea? :-)

Have other peoples experiences been different?

Cheers,

Adrian
--
http://quietstars.com - twitter.com/adrianh - delicious.com/adrianh

6 Oct 2009 - 7:45pm
Kim Burgess
2009

Not sure about making it a better place.. I try. I at least make it a
bigger place :).

I've had a few people email me asking for a code example so I
thought I'd post the response here. If anyone is interested you can
see the script in action at http://www.kimburgess.info. The
JavaScript that handles the link augmentation is on line 37 of
http://www.kimburgess.info/scripts/dev/kimburgess.js. It's commented
but if you've got any questions don't be afraid to ask.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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10 Oct 2009 - 9:08am
Uidude
2009

Hello Brian

Let me answer using examples. Consider links that you may see in your
gmail message (I notice you have one). They open a new tab or new
window unlike gmail interface's own navigation links. There is a
login session, and it so requires that the user is checking the
emails and would always like to get back to the email window after
navigating/ getting far to a different page. Hence it is context
based and how your users, a majority of them prefer.

If it is a link in a blog page, and you are using intriguing links,
consider what Jhon had said. Leave the choice to the user, and as
everyone will learn through experience interacting with the web,
eventually users can decide how and when they want to view a link,
either same page or new page.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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