- Avoid forcing links to open in a new window
Avoid forcing to open in a new window
Actually you should avoid forcing links to open in a new window or pop ups (such as with the "target" attribute or with Java Script).
As you might know, Java Script is not supported by all browsers and some users disable it. When Java Script is used, it should not be relied upon. In such cases you will disable your visitor to access your content.
You should avoid as far as possible implementing Java Script, to avoid running risks on complications on the end users machines, or while government and other employees are required to disable this feature, for security or other reasons.
Also there is a number of users who are very concerned about security issues and disable this feature too.
The issue here is not only concerning users disabling Java Script in their browsers. How many do so? 8%? What about cell phone users? How about sight impaired users?
For those for whom changing the current window or popping up new windows can be very disorienting, because they cannot see that this has happened. And what percent are they?
Radical changes of focus in a GUI environment are extremely disorienting to blind users who are navigating by screen reader, and thus can be considered discrimination against the visually impaired.
- Opening a link in a new window also breaks the back' button on the browser, preventing back-tracking in navigation;
- It also bypasses the tabbed navigation in Galeon and Mozilla, irritating users of that feature;
- If your user wants to open the link in a new window, he or she can do so quite easily with most browsers; there is no need to force the issue;
- It's about leaving the user the freedom to navigate in the way that works best for him or her;
- It's not unusual for a designer never to have thought about such issues; that's why we have the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, to point out things we might otherwise overlook. Or not?
Java Script in links
What does the usability professional Jakob Nielsen say about all this?
Links are the Web's basic building blocks, and users' ability to understand them and to use various browser features correctly is key to enhancing their on-line skills.
Links that don't behave as expected undermine users' understanding of their own system. A link should be a simple hypertext reference that replaces the current page with new content. Users hate unwarranted pop-up windows. When they want the destination to appear in a new page, they can use their browser's "open in new window" command - assuming, of course, that the link is not a piece of code that interferes with the browser’s standard behavior.
Users deserve to control their own destiny. Computers that behave consistently empower people by letting them use their own tools and wield them accurately. More at Useit.com
Opening a new window with Java Script disabled
You can achieve opening a new window, even if Java Script is disabled in your browser.
If you want to do so, see in which cases it would make sense, as Neil Turner describes in his article "Beware of Opening Links in a New Window", published at SitePoint.com:
- If a link is for a document, such as a PDF, RTF or Word file. Opening a new window will allow the image or document to download in the background. It also prevents users from accidentally closing the browser window when they close the document.
- If a link is for a large image. In this case, a new window allows the Web user to keep a browser window open while the image is being downloaded.
- If a link is for a printable version of an article or Web page. Here, a new window allows users to keep the current window open while they print the page or article in the background.
So if you absolutely must open a link in a new window, explicitly warn the user with a clear indication that the page will open in a different window.
Provide a title attribute on the anchor tag with a description indicating that the "link opens a new window", adding a certain icon would be even more convenient.
Notice:This article was written by John Britsios, Web Architect & Senior SEO Consultant here at Webnauts Net and SEO Workers - Expert SEO Company.
It may be reproduced on a web site, CD-ROM, e-zine, book, magazine, etc. so long permission is received from Webnauts Net and the author's name is included in full, and, if the reproduction is by electronic media, a link back to this web site is included.