Opening Video in New Window: Is this NOT the Best Practice?

We are are starting to post video on our site and just posted our first one–a small video window where the user clicks and it opens into a new window. I have been told by a fellow colleague that this is circa 1990s and the video should play in the same window.

Before I have our developers change this, I’d like some consensus that this is actually best practice because I am not sure. Can anyone share their experience or point to any sites/resources? Thanks!

Welcome to Sitepoint. I am glad you have come here for advice.
Far from an expert in this realm, I suspect there will shortly be a plethora of ideas and opinions offered for you.

I think the key thing to consider (and, perhaps the idea has gone out of Vogue) is that the “new window” is a popup. And due to unscrupulous advertising tactics the ‘popup’ and ‘pop-under’ have a seriously negative connotation. Furthermore, almost ALL browsers block pop-ups.
So you would be doing your visitors a disservice if the browser’s attempt to ‘protect’ them also denied them access to your content.

As a compromise, I have seen sites that warn the user “this will open in a new window”. But that seems a bit tacky from a Usability perspective.

Today the same window is best practice. Although new window can mean ‘new’ window, it also means new tab and this can be a problem if your visitor already has several tabs open. Also take into account that your visitor has already waited (although maybe just seconds) for your page to load. Asking them to wait for another page to load a video slows them down even more and on today’s web quick, quick, quick is very important.

From what I have seen, most sites that offer video do it in about the same way as done at You Tube. Their video player starts at a small resolution and progresses to larger resolutions and finally to full page with a place to click to go back to the default resolution.

[font=verdana]As others have said, current best practice is to play in the same window (and the same goes for pretty much any action … let the user open links in new windows or tabs if they want to, but don’t force it on them). If you don’t want to have a large block of your page taken up with a video control panel, you can have a “thumbnail-style” smaller still from the video, which then loads the video in a lightbox. This has the advantages of taking the video out of the page context (where it might have a negative influence on the page design), without the disadvantages of forcing a new tab or window on the user.

Although new windows have never been seen as great practice from an accessibility and usability point of view, they were popular, particularly when developers realised you could set the exact dimensions of the pop-up to have it framing the video console precisely. With the vast majority of people now using tabbed browsers that only run tabs at the full-window size (and many of them forcing “new window” links to open in a new tab rather than a new window), you lose that one element of control that may have made it worthwhile.[/font]

Hi vfoley74. Welcome to the forums. :slight_smile:

The most trendy thing to do these days is what Stevie D said, using a “lightbox” effect where a larger version of the video pops up over the page. (It’s not quite the same as the 19990s thing you mentioned of opening a new popup page.) Personally, though, I’m not totally sold on that lightbox method. You’d want to make sure the video still plays with JS off … and I also get nervous about these effects in terms of accessibility (those not using a mouse etc.)

Personally, my preference is to have the video on the page and playable on the page, with the option to play the video at full screen size—which most video players seem to have these days.

The only time I see it OK to show a video on another page is when it is hosted on a different site. If it is hosted as part of your site, I see no reason why it should not remain on the same page.