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  1. #26
    SitePoint Member JustinofOz's Avatar
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    Got me thinking! Something else I perhaps need to change site-wide.....Huge job!
    Last edited by JustinofOz; Dec 31, 2004 at 08:17. Reason: something to add

  2. #27
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    I get annoyed when message board software doesn't open links in a new window. It's such a common feature that it's pretty much standard now, so when a site doesn't do it (*cough*sitepoint*cough*) then it's unexpected.

    Of course, if a link is supposed to open in a new window, the user can override it by dragging said link into the title bar of the current window.

    Regarding PDFs and DOCs - don't assume that the user will view them in a browser window. I do not use a PDF plugin, so my PDFs download automatically. If you want to open a new window for them, MAKE SURE you use target=_blank, and NOT javascript - if you use javascript then my browser cannot automatically download the file and close the newly spawned window. (Javascript also doesn't let you do the drag-to-the-location-bar trick.)

  3. #28
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    I also think it a bit stupid not to open a new window.

    If someone clicks on an external site then you don't want that site to reload over your site - you want the user to close the new window after use and return their focus back to you.

    If on the otherhand you do not open in a new window, after the user has finished browser the external site they could need to press the back button quite a few times to return to my site - does that not confuse and frustrate?

    Been down that road myself and it does annoy me no end :(

  4. #29
    Google Engineer polvero's Avatar
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    it's a matter of unexpentancy.
    the reason you "think" windows should pop up in new windows is because that's what you've been trained.

    I also run a bulletin board where I use the board to discussion the articles on the website, and it kind of gets annoying when I have new windows (or new tabs) open on the same website for no reason.

    There are reasons the W3C named this attribute as "depreciated" because it takes away control from the user. It's a usability thang

    Sitepoint doesn't open up new windows because it's what we're supposed to be doing. If you're going to comply with standards, do it right. It's not about trying to find work arounds to impress the validator. Target _blank should die ... and more importantly, opening up a new window unexpectantly no matter what code you use should die

  5. #30
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Livingston
    I also think it a bit stupid not to open a new window.

    If someone clicks on an external site then you don't want that site to reload over your site - you want the user to close the new window after use and return their focus back to you.

    If on the otherhand you do not open in a new window, after the user has finished browser the external site they could need to press the back button quite a few times to return to my site - does that not confuse and frustrate?

    Been down that road myself and it does annoy me no end
    I prefer having a choice in how I browse the web. If I want to open a new window/tab then it should be my choice, not the choice of whoever happened to build the site.

    On the other hand though, I can see the benefits of spawning a new window, say for help or supplementary information. However, I see that as more of a web application thing and not something that should be used very often on a public-facing corporate site or content site, for example.

  6. #31
    Non-Member Icheb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by type0
    [...] And more importantly - most of us now are blocking pop-ups, which are the essence of opening a new window.
    Pop up blockers only block new windows that the user didn't ask for. Meaning if you open a page and another page opens without you clicking on a new button.

    Quote Originally Posted by roloenusa
    I have to agree with TooGraffic on that. However, one must have on account that the web is full of pop-up advertisement. This is such a common problem that most people have created a reflex to close any window that is open without the direct input of the user.

    Opening a new window (specially if it is a resized window for screenshots or graphics) will trigger this reflex and it's very likely that the user will not get the requested info. [...]
    People close windows that pop up and that they didn't ask for out of a reflex.
    If I click on a link and it opens a new window, why would I think that new window is an advertisement after I deliberately clicked on a link?

    Quote Originally Posted by polvero
    this is funny cause i remember reading an article called New Window Links in a Standards Compliant World.

    I wonder if Kevin Yank has changed his mind about his own article? Sure it's standards compliant according to the validator, but is it ethical?
    Not necessarily. He gives you the possibility to still open links in a new window if you so desire and have your code standards compliant. I don't see a problem with this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tody
    That is so stupid... i'think new_window is only good for like search engins not for ordenry links..
    Why do you think so? Search engines don't care whether a link opens in a new window or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Article
    Unless you warn them, Web users are likely to expect the new page to load in the current window. Unexpected surprises can be fun, but not when you're browsing the Web.
    You sure? You yourself say

    Quote Originally Posted by Article
    Unfortunately, opening links in a new window is still quite a common occurrence on the Web.
    People experience this so often that they get used to it and in turn expect external links to open in a new window. So if you do something that the user didn't expect, you actually decrease the usability instead of increasing it.
    This entire discussion is for me rather a discussion on how people think it should be, not how the current situation should be approached.

    Of course, if you want to open external links in the same window, you will always find arguments to justify it. There is always someone who is new to the web who finds things confusing and complains about them. But then they get used to them and start to expect a certain behaviour.

    By saying that it's "still quite a common occurrence", you acknowledge the fact that it's being done very often around the web, which makes people get used to it. If people encounter something new, there is almost always something that doesn't work as expected, which makes them complain about it.
    I never hear the complaint "My co-worker, who surfes the web for 5 years now, just yesterday had an external link open in a new window and got really pissed about it because he didn't understood what happened".

    For whom do we design our websites? For people who just started using the web or for people who know what to expect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Article
    To open a new browser window can disorient very novice Web users [...]
    But with a very strong emphasis on very novice. Because everyone else knows what to expect.

    I for one am not willing to alienate users who are on the web for a longer time just so that new users have peace of mind. These new users have to get used to it at some point anyways, because it's "still quite a common occurrence".
    And if you want to start a revolution to change the web, be my guest. But I am not going to be the pioneer for something that I don't feel comfortable with at all.

    When I am reading a page, I can open links in new windows and keep reading the page. Then, when I am done reading, I can crawl through the additional pages. It doesn't interrupt the flow of reading as much as open new links, going through them, having to click "back" a hundred times to get to my starting page and continue reading it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Article
    Use the href title attribute to let the user know that the link opens in a new window:
    No. It takes too long for the title attribute to appear and I am not going to hover over a link for a second just to check that there MIGHT be a title tag defined.

  7. #32
    SitePoint Wizard gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy dc dalton's Avatar
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    I totally agree with the article in the sense that a LOT of web surfers arent savvy enough to know a new window has opened and wonder why they cant use the back button..

    I also agree that things like pdf and word files should ALWAYS open in a new window. I dont know how many times I have mistakenly closed the browser from a pdf, only to have to go back and find the website again - that is truely annoying.

    What really bothered me was the w3c's decision to totally drop the target tag in XHTML 1.0 strict. Yeah I understand why they did it but it is a REAL PITA when you really need to open a new window. I was just redoing my tutorials, getting rid of the old delapidated code from years ago. I open the code examples in a new window because most of my students like to look at the code while reading the tutorial. I quickly read over the examples of new ways to do this that were xhtml 1.0 strict compliant (well sorta) and it really seemed like one giant pain, especially since I have to do these tutorials in my "spare" time...

    My point here I guess is that there ARE times when a new window or popup are very much needed and that issue needs to be resolved, especially for all the new webapps that are being created. Im working on one right now for a radiator website (a parts lookup) and when we loaded it into the page for each step it was PAINFULLY slow. We use recursive Servlet redirects during a lot of the steps and a customer can literally be redirected thru the servlet 5 times if there isnt data that the customer needs to input during a step. When we dropped it into a popup the thing runs like a rocket. I consider that an example of a popup or new window you just "gotta have".

    Lastly, whether we realize it or not, this is another thing that has been ruined by the freaking adult website industry and the hackers. As always something that was extremely usable and functional was "hijacked" by these people for al sorts of stupid reasons and is now "not acceptable" for the upstanding website owner.......

  8. #33
    SitePoint Evangelist Unit7285's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Icheb
    I for one am not willing to alienate users who are on the web for a longer time just so that new users have peace of mind. These new users have to get used to it at some point anyways, because it's "still quite a common occurrence".
    Excellent comment - I thoroughly agree. So many people worry themselves sick about what 'new users' might or might not do. Who cares what they do!? It will take them - oooh - about 1 day, tops, to realise how web browsing works and adapt to it.

    So many people nowadays bang on about their 'rights' as a user to determine whether or not links open in new windows. Well, users are not the only people with 'rights'. The website owner has 'rights' too, including the right to decide how to design their own website for optimum commercial success. If users don't like something then that's their prerogative, they are free to leave and go somewhere else. It's none of their business how the website operates.

    I don't believe, in any case, that the general browsing public are as picky and intolerant as many Sitepoint members, many of whom sometimes seem to lack a sense of perspective and take things much too seriously.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unit7285
    So many people nowadays bang on about their 'rights' as a user to determine whether or not links open in new windows. Well, users are not the only people with 'rights'. The website owner has 'rights' too, including the right to decide how to design their own website for optimum commercial success. If users don't like something then that's their prerogative, they are free to leave and go somewhere else. It's none of their business how the website operates.
    i couldn't agree more... its not always a one way street, end users do not always know what they want and site owners have the right to open external links in a new windo if they so wish. there is no doubt that some users would get angry because an external link DID open in the same window that they were using when they were expecting a new window. in essence, websites are a piece of software which usually get designed a particular way for a reason; most site owners follow common browsing habits to make their site easy to use, while also trying to make sure that viewers stay on their site. i'm sure you'd all hate it if you had a word doc open that linked to an excel file, and Office saw fit to close the word doc just because the excel document opened and had focus... back button or no back button! (back / forward navigation is poor at the best of times anyway!)

    this article does have its merits in that it would be nice to let users know exactly whats going to happen when they click a link, but at the same time new windows do have their place and should not be written off, even for "traditional" websites

  10. #35
    masquerading Nick's Avatar
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    I agree.

    Funny, though, for when I clicked on this article link on the front page, the SP book ad or whatever popped up :D

  11. #36
    GDA
    SitePoint Community Guest
    Interesting article but... When I'm browsing and clicking on a link (which seems to get me out to another site/picture/pdf/etc), I use the "open new window". As a web programmer I say: many browser use tabbed navigation. The time has come to create a standard for "open in new TAB". Ohh maybe I've forgotten I.E users... :)

  12. #37
    MBA
    SitePoint Community Guest
    I only use _blank when the client requests it. Personally i beleive it is naive and misguided.
    *GDA* of all the people i have shown the open in new tab function, less than 20% see the point of it, usually it is not until i give a practicle example that it sinks in.

  13. #38
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    Agree. Actually, a Strict DTD (which I always use) does not allow the target attribute. :p Sometimes a JavaScript popup makes sense though.

    GDA: http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-css3-hy...40224/#target0

    <edit>Furthermore, I do not allow links to open in new windows (unless they are popups) with my fox ;)</edit>

  14. #39
    Google Engineer polvero's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by polvero
    this is funny cause i remember reading an article called New Window Links in a Standards Compliant World.

    I wonder if Kevin Yank has changed his mind about his own article? Sure it's standards compliant according to the validator, but is it ethical?
    -------------------------------

    Not necessarily. He gives you the possibility to still open links in a new window if you so desire and have your code standards compliant. I don't see a problem with this.
    I see a problem. The point of the xhtml strict doctype is to hold true to a certain standard. It doesn't make sense to hack the standard you're trying to achieve. If you need to write code of a lower standard, get a different doctype then.

  15. #40
    Non-Member Icheb's Avatar
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    Don't tell me that, tell that to the author of the article, Kevin Yank.

  16. #41
    Jamison
    SitePoint Community Guest
    Interesting article, though I think the entire part where you expain "if you do open new new windows, use these warning" could go and skip down directly to the only acceptable uses of popup.

    I'd also add one more item to the acceptable uses:

    Use of a dialog box which has options directly related to, and need the context of, the parent window. A perfect example is MSN Hotmail's address book window, which lets you pick e-mails to add to the to/cc/bcc field. Just like a full blown client application.

    And when I went to rate this site, clicking a rating spawned to separate windows, one a second window to rate the piece (even though I'd already clicked on the ten) the other an advertisement which took advantage of my click to get passed my browser. So I used the popup rating dialog to tell the site administrator he could go to hell.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    I prefer having a choice in how I browse the web. If I want to open a new window/tab then it should be my choice, not the choice of whoever happened to build the site. .
    It still is your choice - you can drag the link into the current location bar to force it not to use a new window.

    I don't think it's appropriate everywhere, but it is appropriate in forums. Polvero said this was because that's how I'd been trained, and that's true. But firstly IMO it makes sense to open a new window for forum links, and secondly if a site is different just for the sake of standards, it's sacrificing usability because it's not what the users expect.

    Agree. Actually, a Strict DTD (which I always use) does not allow the target attribute. Sometimes a JavaScript popup makes sense though.
    That really annoys me - as I've mentioned, you can temporarily override a target attribute. But you can't do a thing about the JavaScript popup.

    Amorya
    KickRSS - free web-based RSS aggregator.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amorya
    It still is your choice - you can drag the link into the current location bar to force it not to use a new window.
    And then I need to cut out the old address which is still there as I use Opera, and then I need to press enter.

    OTOH, if the link was to open in the same window, I could right-click and select "Open in new window" in pretty much every browser. Even better, in Opera & Firefox I can middle-click link to open it in backround tab and keep reading the page I'm on, without clicking the new window back.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by jorigami
    And then I need to cut out the old address which is still there as I use Opera, and then I need to press enter.
    Well, you can't blame the web designer because your browser doesn't have a certain feature

    I just tried Opera, and it turns out you can't drag links at all! Even Internet Explorer lets the user do the dragging links around trick, and Omniweb, Safari and Firefox all do too. I think you're in a minority with that argument! Maybe you should start bugging the Opera devs.

    Amorya
    KickRSS - free web-based RSS aggregator.

  20. #45
    Spirit
    SitePoint Community Guest
    Funny, how this very site you posted this article has a pop-up for their book sales...

    (Spirit)

  21. #46
    SitePoint Evangelist CapitalWebHost's Avatar
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    I totally disagree with this article and it's reasoning..sorry.

    If the link takes the user FROM your site, open in a new window. If it takes the user to a page ON your site, same window.

    The excuse that if the user want's to return to your site they will just use the back button is fine if the user simply goes to that one page..but as they decide to navigate thru or away from the linked site, that bcomes much harder and bothersome.

    The point of putting some indication that a link will open in a new window if fine.


  22. #47
    SitePoint Wizard megamanXplosion's Avatar
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    I like it when sites use links like except the text opens in the same window and the image opens a new window. This gives all users an effecient way to browse the website. I think it's also important to point out these people are new to computers, they're not mentally challanged, they're capable of learning that a big box was drawn to the screen with a different page inside of it. As long as everyone can browse the way they want, then good. If you can make it more effecient for both groups (like the solution I mentioned earlier) then great. I don't think it's wise to ruin the effeciency for one group so you can tailor for another.

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amorya
    Well, you can't blame the web designer because your browser doesn't have a certain feature
    I'd dare to say that right-click menu is much better known feature than dragging link to address bar. It's also faster. Why make users hop through loops just so that they can browse the way they like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amorya
    I just tried Opera, and it turns out you can't drag links at all!
    I can drag links just fine, thanks.

    Check the first page of this thread for my DOM solution.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by megamanXplosion
    As long as everyone can browse the way they want, then good.
    Exactly. To override new window you need to do quite unintuitive drag-link-to-addressbar, to override link opening in the same window you need to use right-click which is much more used UI feature.

    Quote Originally Posted by megamanXplosion
    they're capable of learning that a big box was drawn to the screen with a different page inside of it
    But doesn't it look just like the big box which was there before, just with different content? In Windows XP taskbar button stacking is on by default, so it's harder to see that new full-size window just popped up.

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amorya
    That really annoys me - as I've mentioned, you can temporarily override a target attribute. But you can't do a thing about the JavaScript popup.
    I said sometimes, perhaps I should empasize that. Sometimes. One example is the [More] link under Smilies when you reply to thread... How do you think that clicking a smiley would add text in the textbox of the other window if it was a normal link?

    In most cases, opening in the same window is best, IMHO. Even for external sites.
    Simon Pieters


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