One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident


Poll: Links Opening New Windows/Tabs (Repost)

29 Comments 2096 views

This is a repost as I’ve received more emails about opening links in new windows. Click here to read the original comments. Great insights!

I’m not sure if you guys know but my background is in Instructional Technology. I earned my Masters almost 10 years ago (HOLY CRAP I’m OLD) and have been fascinated by web and multimedia usability ever since. I read books like Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, Designing Web Usability and Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed. (go ahead… say it… GEEK!)

Anyway, I make decision on my sites based on what I learned in books like these and my own thoughts on the subject of web design and usability. So when I received this comment and others like in on my weight loss blog I became intrigued.

I know this is piddly, but could you make it to where the clickable links open in a new window rather than redirect?

See, my take on opening a new window is simple… let the user decide. Links are what make the web go ’round. If everyone made an external link to their site open in a new window surfing would be annoying and, for me anyway, unbearable. Of course, this is my opinion but I’m not alone…

Opening up new browser windows is like a vacuum cleaner sales person who starts a visit by emptying an ash tray on the customer’s carpet. Don’t pollute my screen with any more windows, thanks (particularly since current operating systems have miserable window management). If I want a new window, I will open it myself!
-Jakob Nielsen (from The Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 1999)

Now I realize that quote is from 1999 and since we already came to the conclusion that I’m OLD, maybe my thoughts are outdated. All I know is when I surf the web I want to decide when a new window (or tab) gets opened and when a web designer (or blogger) makes that choice for me I get annoyed.

I’d love you thoughts on the subject! Please respond to the poll below and leave your own theories on opening new windows in the comments. Maybe I’ll stand corrected. Lord knows I’m been wrong before. :)


Leave a comment

I’d love to hear your story or thoughts on mine.

However, to prevent the massive amounts of spam I was receiving I have turned off comments on any post older than 5 days old. If you'd like to leave me a note regarding this post or anything really try me on twitter (@RoniNoone,) my Facebook page, or even IG (@RoniNoone) I'm so sorry for the inconvenience. I never thought I'd have to do this but it's gotten way out of hand and comment management has become simply too time consuming to manage.


There are 29 comments so far.

    Amy @ A Little Nosh

    April 13, 2011

    I always right-click so it opens in a new tab. I hate new windows.


    April 13, 2011

    It should not automatically open a new window. I use right-click to open in a new tab. That’s why I HATE sites that disable right-click.


    April 13, 2011

    Oh, my bad, I picked open in a new window – I don’t like that – but I DO want it to open in a new tab. I hate it when I click a link and it changes the page I was reading.


    April 13, 2011

    Well, I voted for opoen in a new window. However, I am not sure how many people know you can right click and decide for youself if you want a new window or a new tab. Personally, I don’t think someone should ask the publisher to change the way they post their blog.
    Enough said, I enjoy all your posts, new window or not.


    April 13, 2011

    I don’t particularly care as I always cmd-click links to open them in a new tab if I want them in a new tab. (Right-clicking takes too long. If you’re a windows user with a scroll-wheel mouse, you can set the click of the scroll-wheel to open up a new tab).

    Firefox (and I believe Safari and Chrome) has the option to force links that open in new windows to open in a new tab. So if I click a link and it opens in a new tab, it’s a pleasant surprise.


    April 13, 2011

    I want it to open in a new tab without my having to remember which site automatically does it and which site makes me manually do it. With my bad wrists/fingers asking me to mouse/click any more than necessary is likely to get me to not only never click on a link, but to stop reading that person’s posts.

    I do NOT normally read links in the middle of a post -I click, open them separately, and visit them after I finish reading the original post. If I want to delve further, I appreciate quality links.


    April 13, 2011

    Definitely want a new window or new tab. Can’t stand when the original site that I’m on gets changed because there’s usually more on that page I wanted to read.

    Like the others said, right click is always an option but not everyone knows that.


    April 13, 2011

    With all that said, I’m noticing that all your sites are filled with links. WHY? “click here to read more” “click here to see the picture” I feel like I have to do lots of clicking that never had to be done before. Lots of clicking to read the rest of the article that’s on another one of your sites. etc…

    Krista S.

    April 13, 2011

    I middle click the scroll wheel to open links in new tabs. I *hate* new windows…too much clutter, but I can’t stand when a link changes the page I’m on.


    April 13, 2011

    It’s because I have a ton of content then I make reference to anymore. I’ve always done it but now I have 6 years of content and 6 blogs. I much rather link back then restate. It just makes sense to me.


    April 13, 2011

    I want links to open in a new window/tab always because I don’t want to lose track of where I am. Very often I want to comment or participate in some way but if your link takes me away from your site, there’s a very real chance that I’m never coming back (at least not until the next time I visit your site).

    I can see that a bunch of windows would be annoying for many… but hopefully your average blogger doesn’t link every second word so hopefully you’re not getting too many new things popping up.

    I also may have these opinions because I do web work in the plastics industry where your average internet user is usually not as savvy as the sorts of folks that read your blogs, Roni. Many don’t know what the address bar is so asking them to remember where they were or expecting them to know to right-click is just asking too much. With these folks we know that if we send them away, they’re gone. That may not be the case with your readers… on the other hand, it may be for a good chunk of them.


    April 13, 2011

    I prefer it to open in another window. I know this is a random comment, but you’re so blog-savvy I just have to ask. Am I the only person who finds blogs with black backgrounds and white text unreadable ( kind of like your response, but even more severe)? It literally kills my eyes! Maybe I’m just getting old ;)


    April 13, 2011

    No I think that’s a normal complain. I’m not a big fan of dark backgrounds on full pages either. But we are still probably old. ;)

    shandy (@webgals)

    April 13, 2011

    On any site I code, I have external links open to target=”_blank” as a general rule so that the site doesn’t “lose” people. I know that people can always make that choice for themselves…but I’ve found it to be the general best-practice that I follow….and that my corporate overlords typically mandate.

    Mary (A Merry Life)

    April 13, 2011

    Oh my, I HATE links that open in new windows. I almost always *command* click for it to open in a new tab, but when I mess up and click a link that opens in a new window I get seriously upset. It’s one of my pet peeves and my least favorite thing people do on blog. Let the user decide what they want to do with a link!


    April 13, 2011

    Shandy – That’s what i’m thinking about doing… “_blank”

    but don’t different browsers treat it differently? Like IE does a window but firefox does a tab?

    shandy (@webgals)

    April 13, 2011

    I think that depends on the user’s preferences…but I’ve found IE does go with tabs…at least in my usage. I’d have to re-test that to be sure from version to version (don’t have IE right now to be certain). I think it’s my preference to not lose the original site…but that may just be from my years of web marketing….


    April 13, 2011

    Roni, in my opinion it’s not something I would get mad over but I do think it would be a little more convenient to have links open in a new tab. It might be more selfish on my part, but when I am on your site reading about your sensational sunday, sometimes I like to refer to the recipes you link to and it makes it a little inconvenient to have to go back to your post after I click on the recipe. But its really not a big deal! You’re doing a great job with all your sites!

    I’d rather have them open in a new tab or window, rather than navigating away from the current one — mainly because in posts like your Thursday Thoughts, I might want to click on more than one link … and if I’m redirected to a new page, then I have to hit the back button or open a new tab/window to get the original post back.


    April 14, 2011

    LOVE *TABS*!!!

    Extra windows clutter my Windows Taskbar, and they get lost on my Mac. I’d much rather have so many tabs open that I have to scroll them right and left. :-) I don’t care for links opening within pages, because sometimes it can be hard to backtrack to where you were. At the same time, if you get used to tabs, and a link opens in the same window (though, to prevent this, I right click, open in new tab) you often [accidentally] close out of the page (or tab).

    I RARELY use IE anymore, even though it does have Tabs now, but I just fell in love with Firefox’s Tabs. ((I use Safari on my Mac, but I’m on my work (Windows) PC much more.))


    April 14, 2011

    I always have mine set to open with _blank. I’ve found that in most browsers it now opens in tabs (IE, Firefox, Chrome). It seems to keep owners happy as they can reference other sites without fear of “losing” their audience. Plus, while I do typically right click to open in new tab as my personal preference, I code my sites as if my mom was browsing them (she never right clicks anything unless I remind her it’s an option!)


    April 14, 2011

    I prefer a new tab, and if not a new tab, then a new window. Some people have set up their pages so that you cannot right click at all (to prevent image stealing, I guess) and make the choice for yourself. I usually left click and, if I don’t get a new window/tab, I go back and then right click.


    April 14, 2011

    I prefer a new window or tab depending on which browser I am using. I always lose track of the page and will click to exit thinking that I will still be on the page and then realize “nothing” blank screen.


    April 14, 2011

    I always right click to open in a new tab. I don’t like when it opens in the same window because I might not be finished with where I was. Does that make sense?

    I know I already answered this on twitter, but here I am anyway:

    I “expect” an external link to redirect me. But I never want to be redirected. I always want a new tab, so I right-click and open a new tab. Always.


    April 14, 2011

    New tab, please!


    April 14, 2011

    Like many others have already said, I also always right click to open in a new tab. I use Firefox exclusively. For things that have content that only works with IE (boo!), Firefox has the “View Page in IE Tab” (yay). I am a huge fan of tabs. I don’t like my task bar all cluttered up with new windows. Just my 2 cents.

    Cynthia (It All Changes)

    April 14, 2011

    I learned to right click on all links as others have said because I want it in a new tab.

    I set my content to open in new window because I don’t know the code for opening in a new tab but as a reader I want to be able to click on multiple links and not lose the original posts. I have been lost for hours looking at link after link and then forgetting the original post so I could leave a comment.


    April 20, 2011

    Preference is for a new tab, within browser. I agree with you, I can handle that (minor) chore myself. Since there are so many possibilities, it seems letting someone make the choice is the way to go.