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Socoder -> Web Development -> Debate - should external links open in a new tab/window?

Posted : Tuesday, 30 August 2011, 08:41
HoboBen
It's an old debate. What do you think?

I don't think they should, because it's a terrible convention and it should be left up to the user.

On the other hand, sometimes users are idiots and will close the window instead of hitting back.

On the other hand, they can't hit back at all if it's a new window.

It's 2011, I think it's finally time to leave this behaviour behind.

-=-=-

Posted : Tuesday, 30 August 2011, 08:47
Jayenkai
IMO, Middle click/tabs/etc were created EXACTLY for that purpose.
Job done.
Let the user decide.

If the user can't figure it out, it's their own fault!

-=-=-
''Load, Next List!''
Posted : Tuesday, 30 August 2011, 08:58
shroom_monk
Whichever way you choose to do it, it's important to be consistent, but I think it should ultimately be left up to the user, because of middle-click and stuff as Jay mentioned.

On the other hand, it does depend on your audience. There are still plenty of people who probably don't have middle-click functionality, or don't know it exists. Then again, they probably don't know what they're missing, so I guess that's not too big an issue.

I'd say it should all be in the same tab / window, unless the user decides otherwise.

-=-=-
A mushroom a day keeps the doctor away...

Keep It Simple, Shroom!
Posted : Tuesday, 30 August 2011, 09:02
spinal
I don't have middle-click on my trackball, but I'm now in the habit of right-click -> open in new tab, so I don;t really care any more.

-=-=-
Download ''Don't Flip Out!'' Directly to your OUYA! (Click Here).
Posted : Tuesday, 30 August 2011, 12:03
JL235
I don't want people leaving Play My Code, so if you click on an external link, I'll open a new tab so PMC is also left open. I imagine this is the main reasoning behind all of the other sites that open in a new tab.

Finally most typical users don't know about middle-click, or open in new tab, or ctrl+click, or any other the other alternatives. They just click.

-=-=-
PlayMyCode.com - build and play in your browser, Blog, Twitter.
Posted : Tuesday, 30 August 2011, 13:19
Stealth
JL235 I don't want people leaving Play My Code, so if you click on an external link, I'll open a new tab so PMC is also left open. I imagine this is the main reasoning behind all of the other sites that open in a new tab.


This is the best argument that exists for using external links. I believe this only works in certain situations. If I'm consuming content on that page and I'm interrupted in the middle of it, external links will help remind me I was reading it later on. If was done consuming the content and have no interest in other content on that page, launching an external link probably wont do much for me.

My verdict: Think about what your visitor is really doing and ask yourself if they care about coming back.

-=-=-
Quit posting and try Google.
Posted : Tuesday, 30 August 2011, 19:35
9572AD
I don't use the "Back" button.
I don't recommend use of the "Back" button because it often does NOT take you back due to scripts and forms and whatnot.
Therefore I ALWAYS open external pages in a new window.

-=-=-
All the raw, animal magnetism of a rutabaga.
Posted : Tuesday, 30 August 2011, 19:42
JL235
9572AD I don't recommend use of the "Back" button because it often does NOT take you back due to scripts and forms and whatnot.

Originally, it did take you back. It is only in modern browsers that it doesn't, and I really like this. It takes you back to how you left that page.

Scripts actually end up breaking a lot that behavior, such as resetting forms.

-=-=-
PlayMyCode.com - build and play in your browser, Blog, Twitter.
Posted : Tuesday, 30 August 2011, 20:13
Evil Roy Ferguson
I personally prefer the Wikipedia approach of giving some visual indication that the link is off-site, but otherwise not trying to control where the link will be opened.