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View Poll Results: Should you open external links in a new window or not?

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  • Open external links in a new window

    3 27.27%
  • Keep external links in the same window

    8 72.73%
Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
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    Opening external links in new windows

    Would you open a link to an external site in a new window?

    I used to think that I should to keep the user on my site, but now I think it is a bit inconvenient opening up new windows. According to Jakob Nielsen, it is bad for usability as the back button is disabled when opening a new window. See point 2 in this article (Doesn't open in a new window)

    I wondered what others thought.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard maartenvr's Avatar
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    I'd say new window if it is clear that the link goes to another website.
    Maarten

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tyssen's Avatar
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    If you're going to open a new window I think you should use the title tag to tell people that's what is going to happen.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    The second option should be phrased 'let the user choose'.

    If your content is good enough, people will come back even if you don't spawn new windows left and right.

    If your content isn't good enough, opening links in new windows will only annoy your visitors (because they have to close the window with your uninteresting site).

    If you insist on taking away the user's choice, make sure that you clearly indicate that a link will open a new window. Using the TITLE attribute, as Tyssen suggested, is not enough (who pauses for several seconds over a link to see if there's a title before clicking it?).

    If your visitors are computer novices who don't know how to open a link in a new window or a new tab, why not explain to them how to do it instead?
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  5. #5
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    Thanks everyone for your comments.

    To simplify things, I have decided to open links in the same window. It seems to make sense not to open too many windows and not to confuse the visitor, especially for a links page where many windows may be open. I've also noticed that many respected designers are opening links in the same window.

    AutisticCuckoo, I think you are right about not taking the choice away from users and about making content good enough so that users return.


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