Web devs, stop opening links in new windows!

I really wish websites would stop forcing links to open in new windows. Sure, I see the developer’s logic: Opening external links in new windows means that the user keeps the original site open and is probably more likely to browse some more after they return.

But it doesn’t make me want to stay on your site any longer. In fact, I feel compelled to leave a page for good if it tries to tell me how I should browse. If I want something to open in a new tab, I’ll command-click (control-click on Windows) on it.

Look at one of the most used extensions for Firefox: Tab Mix Plus, whose primary function is to force the browser into single-window mode. And there’s more than a dozen other extensions that provide the same feature. The web is in a sad state when millions of users have to undue developer mistakes.

There are only two exceptions I can think of where the new window behavior is acceptable. One, if the link opens a temporary input window, like adding a link to del.icio.us or Facebook Share, where the user may need to refer back to the original page before finishing with the temp window. And two, on pages where users are filling out forms.

So, developers, unless your link falls under one of those criteria, don’t even think about using that target=”_blank” tag!


1 comment so far

  1. xavias on

    I agree with the majority of your claim being that target=”_blank” is the devil so to speak. But i don’t think temp input or anything of that sort is good with a new window because you can use an absolute positioned div w/ ajax to keep everything in the same page. Much nicer approach for the user, etc

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