Thanks for this post. This right here is exactly how I feel on the subject. It seems to me a usability matter: different sites = different windows/tabs. If the tab you came from isn’t there anymore, it should just work like the regular back button. Mouse fatigue is probably a bit extreme (unless you’re arthritic!). We’re Web Developers here!! Of course there is history but can we really afford all that confusion? Keeping in mind these distinctions can help us develop a solution that keeps both users and website/business owners happy. Experts building the argument around Gmail, not so much (or at least grossly out of date). If you have, say, a review site, you might want the users to be able to click on product links that open new windows so you can keep them on your site if they close the product links. So we were trying to save state on the page for user input and just have learn links on the page but this cannot be done using _blank .. so i am searching for alternative options *sigh*. However, that is why browsers created tabs in the first place to give the user a better visual of whats open and running and an easier way back to the original window/tab. And as usual, the client is dumb as bricks. It just makes sense that those should be in new tabs. Not being able to modify the look of these books at all (publishers) there was a problem with internal and external links looking exactly the same. He got a bad rap recently for his take on mobile but don’t let that fool you—most of his stuff is dead on, especially this. Another good reason: you are trying to make your website/webapp to play nicely with Firefox OS when running in ‘chromeless’ window. Links that go to other pages that are explicitly “learn more” style links (e.g. If they don’t trust you with this, what do they trust you about? Most external links are provided as an extra source of further information and do not flow with the content you are currently reading. but people used it anyway since it worked. In a business point of view …. Bottom line: don’t break my back button. I don’t have time for “your” stupid target=”_blank” tags: my mouse has three buttons! Missing from this conversation are the accessibility concerns. They log onto our site and from there often reference state or federal websites and forms. That’s the expected behaviour. – alex Jul 24 '13 at 9:39 That said, this article has prompted me to start a straw poll of everyone I know to find out what people actually think. Their reasoning is just as bad as the worst clients’, they want your eyeballs. More user experience issues are caused when people close a main window thinking it was a new tab, than the situation of back button embarrassment due to a new tab opening. Method two (listen for event using jQuery, preferred way, especially for external links): You definitely made some solid points that I hadn’t considered. I’ve seen it happen many a time, with my own eyes no less. Maybe I shouldn’t reflect my personal preference on my users. Clicking a link and changing pages can be a heart-pounding, awful moment on the web. Avoiding its use to indulge this seems like it’s catering more to lazy developers than to a better user experience. You mentioned not wanting users to leave your site as a bad reason. But anytime I have seen a non tech-savvy person using a browser; they either don’t know it exists or forget to use it at reasonable times. New windows can also be confusing for those with cognitive disabilities. So how then would all the links be converted to target=_blank? Using a single window for external links is like reading the first chapter of a book, coming to a sentence that references the second chapter, and then jumping to the second chapter without finishing the first. I have been taught to open external links (to a different domain) in a new window. One step aside maybe OK, but what if they are 5, 10, 20 steps away? I wouldn’t want users to leave my clients’ site. Most of our users, who I would put in the category of people who don’t know or care anything about their browser, expected certain links to open in a new window and put in feedback complaining when it did not behave that way. "_blank" guarantees that the window/tab will be new. Is it the Chinese web-devs preventing the public mass’ habit of ctrl-clicking?.. I guess it all comes back to the preferences. I have sites with A LOT of external links and my sites are the threads which tie them all together. I almost feel like CMD (or CONTROL on Windows) to open a link in a tab is so conventional for most users that the decision a new tab should almost always be left up to the user. I can only assume most other web users expect this behaviour too. Then there’s people like the people who read this blog. A lot of this argument seems elitist in its approach. ===== FEATURES ☆ Block pop ups, ads, and annoying banners (even remove video ads!) But, these are my opinions, and you know what they say about opinions. I think of CodePen where users are often writing code. I think target="_blank is useful if you need to read a page (maybe a long page) with links for further informations, but you don’t want to exit the page you are still reading, because if you click the link and you change page you break your read-flow. Come on. What happens when an external site has links to another piece of content/site and that page uses java script to hijack the back button or onpageload with redirects? Opening in a new tab is actually quite user-friendly behaviour in the right circumstances. Perhaps a user is writing something. Coming “back” to an infinite scroll page should take you to where you left off in most cases. If support had been implemented, a CSS solution would exist: * { target-new: tab ! I can also see how a link to an external site can sometimes be categorized as a self-serving ad. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. My site, my decision – your site, your decision. Why not? Now users wont know which links on your site will open _blank and which wont. links in the footer) have normal behavior, but we detect if you have unsaved changes in the editor and prompt you to save them before you leave. On one end of the spectrum, the links placed there by the site’s creators are exactly as reputable as the site itself. Simple and best reason, I don’t want people to leave my content in half (that is why it is built for) ;). Personally, I don’t see any reason why opening them in a new tab is a bad idea. 2019年8月頃にTwitterで【target=“_blank”問題】というのが話題になりました。. You can use any name for the target (except for those few reserved) and it will open in that same window/tab (unless forced to open in a new one). Though, what is irritating for me as a user may benefit them. I understand that you know how to navigate exactly how you want to, but most users don’t and helping them out and giving them a better user experience doesn’t seem wrong to me. The default behavior is for links to open normally. Basically I keep normal when interlinking my own page but when i link any external source then i use target=”blank”, my intention behind this is very clear that readers should not leave my page. The back button, even in a new tab, should close the tab and take you back to where you came from. target="myTabName" will do in order not to open new tabs/windows every time, but to reuse that tab/window. Why should that be so different? But now i wont do it. When I’m reading a long article that links to a different domain (and I wish to continue reading the article), I find it much easier to use a simple control-W keystroke to close a tab than trying to navigate back to the article I was reading. And in a shopping situation where you might lose valuable information, but a lot of that can and maybe should be handled with JS. As far as PDFs are concerned, I’m 50/50 on that one. In my opinion, _blank being used for external links is fine. The external link is meant to provide additional information not void or displace the information you are currently reading. That “mini heart attack” for them (especially old people) when they think lost everything they were doing, gosh.. :), You forgot one of the main reasons why the target attribute exists. That, especially with tab browsing on all major browsers, anyone would not see that to be the most logical approach is fascinating. If the link does directly flow with the content then you would either end with the link or the content would be within the page rather than somewhere else. Links opening within the same page is the default behavior (as if the link had target="_self" on it). ===== FEATURES ☆ Block pop ups, ads, and annoying banners (even remove video ads!) 外部サイトへリンクする際に、新しいタブまたは新しいウィンドウでサイトを開きたいと思った場合. Power users hate blank target="_blank". In my experience, from user feedback and user research, they want these external links to open in a new tab. No. You keep your finger at the current page and use your remaining fingers to search the other page. We still use _blank quite often for a lot of reasons you named “bad”. I think he is saying it was already made by Facebook and the like. When would you ever want an ad not to open a new window/tab. I just don’t want to ignore the impacts that others left on this page. When it comes to web/app usability questions, we need to make a distinction between business objectives and user experience; between research-based decisions and personal opinions; and between user needs and personal motive. If anything, iOS makes it even more cumbersome since you need to click in 2 different spots to get back to where you were. If other people use the site, leave it be. This wikiHow teaches you how to prevent ads from displaying on YouTube. I wholeheartedly agree with all of your arguments. I loved your games :D and your magneticNorth stuff. By and large, I’ve not had many complaints with opening new windows (I generally prompt users first) for external site links. So long as target=”_blank” is used sparingly and in a consistent manner that does not interrupt normal use of your website, I think you’re going to be okay. Having started reading this thread and agreeing with Chris, I now find myself at the end and thinking the opposite. A link to something like “shipping information” should be openable without them losing their place in checkout. Do no try to save the user from himself by “outsmarting” him or thinking you’re anything like him. That’s wonderful for you, but it is safe to assume most users are most comfortable with the default behavior. We need to be aware about what people expect when they interact with a UI element. If the user is interested in a specific technology and clicks the link, she or he will not lose the reading position and gets additional information in parallel. So why throw in JS (let alone jQuery) for such basic stuff as opening a link in a new window is? I’m not presenting this as a “good” example but it has or used to have millions of users. Can’t reading be considered work? It’s much easier to open everything in a new tab, then simply close it, and having the original page back in the state where it was before. The time to not follow the crowd is when not following the crowd produces a better result, in the long or short run. @Nate I don’t think Tim is saying he is making the decision. And thus less comfortable with your forcing of a different behavior. Since all the big sites do it, do you really want to fight them simply because the developer community, maybe (definitely, not the user community), prefers it. Other user generated content will be on that spectrum somewhere. That said, since you brought it up… search results links on this site open in a new window/tab — it’s something that’s always bugged me. Considering the prevalence of target="_blank" it seems a sort of gross oversight on their part. I neither condone nor disagree with it’s use. Their search page has a message “Please try the full Yahoo experience at”. 2 If you choose another video you go right to it. I actually find some sites that don’t use target=”_blank” really irritating, particularly if they have very heavy pages and lots of comments (particularly if the comments are loaded through ajax). It reminds me of the pointless debate with strong vs. bold (of course, after wasting everybody’s time now bold and italic are back in HTML 5). It’s easier to just close that tab. Apart from that I totally agree while I know it is hard to argue this point even with clients. If I go to your website, and you expect me to open a link in a new tab, do I get annoyed? Because so much dumbasses will ask me for the 666th time why it doesn’t open in a new window, that I’m really stressed up with explaining the 667th time why it IS MOTHERFUCKER STUPID ! To me, the current tab acts like your tracking finger so I want to open that additional information in a new tab. Wel, IMHO, if i’m reading an article and it has an link for further reading in a subject, it should open in new window. It would be easier at that point to add the beforeunload handler, as mentioned at the end of the post. It’s now perfectly valid in HTML5. Expected behaviour is a big UX factor that can’t be ignored for the sake of the intentions of the initial default behaviour from when browsers were different and anyone who regularly used the internet had above-average tech affinity. How dumb would that be? I’ve had to deal with some of these in the past and always argued for just letting the user decide. Browsing habits would probably be slightly different on a mobile though and I guess no-one is advocating a different experience ;), Again, you’re assuming most users are like you—and I—who like to have more than one tab/window open. Learn Development at Frontend Masters. Because of this pages are not opening in new window or tab. But isn’t there scope for relying on browsers/accessibility aids to give the necessary feedback around what’s happening? Or not? As stated above, I can continue reading the article uninterrupted, and when I’m ready, go over to the new page. That is, when the page first loads, all the links should be normal and the link behavior should only be modified when the user initiates some action which shouldn’t be interrupted by following a link. As for XHTML, I didn’t know anyone who wasn’t using it. Here’s an example in the wild that uses the blank value for everyone to discuss: Speaking of UX in this decision, I’d like to see data on what users expect when clicking a link that is obviously going to leave the site. When I use my phone, I would much rather navigate back and forth instead of looking sometimes tabs all the time. Most likely they don’t remember where they came from, but it matters to me. Normal links (e.g. When the media isn’t playing, links are in their normal state. At that point, either have links open in new tabs or ask them if they are sure they want to leave the page. If that annoys you so much that you feel unwelcome, you probably are. The example of desktop users having several tabs open and being able to find something they want or were looking at a few websites ago is quite striking. The benefits of a new tab, especially if the user wanders off to a new site and digs down into it are that they are only ever one click (close tab) away from getting back to where they came from, rather than a series of ‘back buttons’ to get there. I have been back and forth with this and, in the end, decided to keep target=”_blank” for external links. Not every user is tech-savvy enough to know how to open a link in a new tab (trust me) and will be lost clicking the back button to find their way back to where they came from. If a tab/window already exists with the same name, the page will be loaded there. Great article, thank you! “oh, it opened correctly, but in another window that I already had open, in the background, and it’s behind this window, so I couldn’t see it”). Neither way is the solution — we’re not going to be changing the web or the expectations of 100% of users any time soon. Some websites use programs that bypass the AAK, like blockadblock, which obfuscates the code. One of the possible values of that attribute is _blank, which tells the browser to open a new window (or tab, if that’s the user’s preference) when that link is clicked. C’mon people! At that point, you are trying to do right by them and have them not leave their place. And hopefully, your calm and educated approach will help your client feel good about you. There’s five minutes of my life I’ll never get back. Or arranging something. This is probably more legacy than relevant for current development. This is frustrating for users who just can’t get back via the back button. I’ve been struggling to fully write down my reasoning why, but here is my best attempt. Other sites should have normal-style links, but our site is special. I would think it’s a more uncommon use case, but the same type of thinking in this article would hold true. I agree, and re-thinking the default would be my main point: the default behaviour came about in times before tabbed browsing, and if it wasn’t for tabs, then probably the perceived convenience of one way or the other would be very different. I’ve done usability testing on sites that have links that open in new windows or new tabs where participants get totally blocked because they doesn’t notice that a new window/tab was opened. Now we are asking the user not only to interrupt their expectation once, but to interact with the dialogue box in an entirely different manner so that they can indicate just now unnecessary they feel the box is. Right. 上記の例のように target=“_blank” を追加しますよね?. Personally I take the “Internal” links and “External” links are different approach myself, not only for my personal web projects and portfolio but for the multi-million pound e-commerce site which I maintain on a daily basis. Bad idea, imo. So is UX a matter of what’s best in an ideal world, or what’s best for our real users ? Though i dont use Taget=”_blank” but i was thinking to go for it. The important point for me is that users can’t not open a new window/tab if it’s set to do that programmatically. But are there good reasons to do so? Thanks for clearing the clouds of confusion. Especially here: What if I told you that most end-users have no idea they can open a new window with right click or middle click? Navigating along a page, click on a link, try to click the back button – oh wait, it doesn’t work. The point remains that implementing target blank takes away control from the user. Why does opening a link in a new tab break the back button? So you want the visitors to like you, fucking rubbish. Adblock Plus wants to use blockchain to call out fake news TechCrunch #crypto #HedgeMaven Adblock Plus wants to use blockchain to call out fake news TechCrunch AlphaMaven Adblock Plus wants to use blockchain to call out fake news - AlphaMaven When the user hits play, would you add target=_blank to every link in the page? Or, better yet, use an event-delegated click handler that checks the status of any media (or potentially lose-able state) and open in new/current tab accordingly. Thanks. Side-notes (referred articles, PDFs, etc.) on YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, and all your favorite sites ☆ Block third-party trackers and protect your privacy ☆ Browse safely by blocking … If you want your site to “work like an app” then _blank is a pragmatic reality to avoid breaking the illusion. There are some reasons why we might want to break that behavior, and we can go over those, but for most links, we don’t. The principle behind that is quite compelling, but I do want to point out that Gmail affixes target="_blank" to all of the URLs within an email. And it’s only a new tab. I’ve i.e. If you leave it alone, it’s up to the user whether or not they want a new window. Not that designers should do something “wrong” to appease users, but if it defies majority expectations it’s worthy of revaluation. Russell’s article is wrong. Bad Reason: Just because you want users to never leave your page. A bible. I’m not sure garbage is quite fair. I understand your confusion – consistency and clarity is missing”. _top: – Loads the page into the top-level browsing context, which means “the whole page” in a situation where you have nested frames. Every dollar contributed enables us to keep providing high-quality how-to help to people like you. So, in summary, the only good use cases for target=_blank would be better served with JS handlers; therefore target=_blank should never be used. In most browsers you can always undo closing a tab, for example in Chrome shift+cmd+t in Safari it’s cmd+z. Including myself. Very nice. Especially now that we have tabs.”. The follow-up thought of “therefore the current non-default is bad behaviour” seems ideological rather than concerned wit the user. BTW, websites that over rely on javascript for navigation are losing eyeballs. Thanks once again for clarity in this world of mayhem ;-). I’m honestly disappointed in all of you. Most users prefer to open links in a new tab, because it allows them to come queue referenced links for later reading without losing their current browsing context. However, you can easily avoid these anti-adblockers in the Google Chrome browser. Luckily, that XHTML is now dead, so _blank is perfectly fine. I don’t think having browser tabs changes anything. I have had many instances in mobile devices and legacy browsers where using the back button was no longer an option. Point being: do users know that they can open in a new tab or window if they desire? Not to be rude, Chris, but I think most of your clients are tech savvy, therefor, your opinion/experience may be a bit skewed towards users who know what they are doing. (See Nielsen’s Top 10 Mistakes in Web Design for reference.) You guys who are arguing for people not to use it, are talking like it should be a topic brought up at the UN. At the end of the day target=”_blank” is so widely used that I’m not planning to change :) At the same time, I’m not going to scream if someone wishes to do it the other way, for the reasons Chris mentioned. Also, when reading blogs, I’ll often open the links I want to while reading, then go to those tabs after I finish the article. I tried to read and still am confused that weather I need to used it or not on my website If you want to help users download it without actually opening it, that’s a worthy UX goal but can be approached differently. Nothing annoying me more than people telling me I want the wrong thing. It comes down to if you are designing a site to present the best possible user experience and branding of the client/company, or are you designing a site to show how much you know about compliant design and code. It ends up being a lot more of an inconvenience that it would be for your adept user to just close the previous tab. The user will not know why the site is changing constatnly. You can use OptinMonster’s Ad-Block Targeting Display Rule to specifically show or hide a campaign to visitors using ad-blocker tools including AdBlock, AdBlock Plus and uBlock Origin. They learn it at the same time they learn there’s a tabbing system in whatever browser they use. But it will be a conscious decision on his part and not an accidental leave by being sidetracked. As others have mentioned, if all the big sites do it there has to be a good reason, whether its because users prefer it, its better security, or simply its the way all major sites do it so they just follow suit. I feel we need data in both directions: some people here are saying that users get confused about new tabs/windows and therefore we shouldn’t use them; other people here are saying that users get confused by the back button and/or by situations where a link does not open in a new tab/window when they had expected it to. $(document).ready(function(){ As a blogger, I regularly add links to other pages like Wikipedia and CodePen for additional information or a demo obviously. ;-). My clients and a LOT of internet users are used to it. Haha, VERY timely. So at what point do you overrule your own user research because of a desire not to use a particular technique? I would be interested to know if the “average” user is the savvy or non-savvy one (ie., the one who knows about ctrl-click or doesn’t), but I’d wager the proportion of non-savvy users is significant either way. – Dave. Thanks as always :), Can you please share your idea, weather to keep or not. With email html design, several experts are advocating target=”_blank” because GMail users may be accessing their email via the browser and find it an inconvenience to lose their email page. For certain demographics, _blank targets can be a poor user experience. and for anyone interested, here is a good article to balance Chris’ views. That’s what worked for him, but it was his choice, not the designer’s. They think that doing so is similar to popup ads and other annoying behavior. I honestly don’t know a single person who clicks a link when they’re in the middle of an article and doesn’t become frustrated when it doesn’t open in a new tab. Or arranging something. Perhaps the user impulsively clicks a link on that other site and gets lost in a paradox of meme’s and cats across the net. I say it again: I love the target=_blank attribute. Handling that tricky problem is your job. I’ve only had maybe one or two clients that were picky about the link target. Because I clicked a link to a full screen image, a cat video, or a different site altogether. By using “_blank” you are ensuring that if the user is bored with the page you linked to, at least your page is still open in their browser. I fixed it after reading this article. There are three reasons why I always use target-blank on external links OR why I hate when websites open everything in the same tab: 1) Most users are dumb (considering non-techy people here browsing non-techy websites), usually they don’t even know there’s a possibility to open a link in new tab, therefore we have to guide them; otherwise they might never get back to our page from an external article. I just looked for rel="external" on a link and opened a new window via script on click instead so I didn’t have to muck about with the Transitional DTD (transitional from HTML 4.01) in the first place…. Making him pressing the back button a gazillion times then is supposed to be a good UI decision? 8.25% of my employer’s site visitors are on IE8. Once you’ve found it, you let it all go except the finger you used to keep track of the page you were reading initially. Eyeballs baby. As for squabbling about all this internal-vs-external link preference — that is what is garbage. I get the “I don’t want to pick this fight” thing, since we only have so much energy. Chris, you are totally right. This used to be “invalid” in HTML (maybe only XHTML?) You should start a church for those conforming to your ideological reasoning. It seems everyone here is discussing which is more “wrong”, new tab or same tab. You just close the other tab. I love the target=_blank attribute. I use target =”_blank” for external links. I would suggest that most people’s browsing habits are like a pyramid, starting in one place a rapidly spreading outwards (IYSWIM? We should have a way to validate the assumption that “users” don’t like something opening in a new window in certain cases. How many still think that the Google searchfield, that is so prominent in the middle of a newly started browser, is the place where to enter urls (“The addressfield?

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