It’s my browser, not yours

And I’ll decide when to open links a new window, thank you very much.

E-media Tidbit’s Steve Outing gets it wrong when he suggests that papers should send readers to off-site links in a new window.

His suggestion that the new window be sized small enough to indicate that the original site is underneath is a valiant effort to combat the usability problem of breaking the back button, but it introduces another.

To open a window with a specified size, you’d have to use Javascript, which would mean the href would probably point to “#”, while an onClick event would be set.

For users who have grown tired of windows opening out of nowhere and who probably now open links in new windows (via context-menus) or in new tabs, they’ll get a blank window and be forced to go back and use the Javascript link provided.

Remember, it’s my browser, not yours.

By not linking off-site, or by doing so with annoying new windows, sites are merely generating ill will among their users.

Consider how little effort it takes to copy an off-site link and paste it into the URL field if I want to leave your site (or the even smaller amount of effort it takes to close the browser).

To those digital naysayers who are now plotting to remove any off-site URLs from their content, (linked or unlinked), consider how little effort it’ll take me to leave your page, go to Google and search for the company or site you mentioned but didn’t provide a URL for.

So ask yourself, if it’s so easy to leave your site when you’re making it difficult then why try and stop them from leaving? Instead, provide plain ol’ simple “a href’s” and generate some goodwill among your users.

Happy users means more users, which means happy advertisers.

About Chris

Python developer, Agile practitioner trying desperately not to be a pointy haired boss.
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2 Responses to It’s my browser, not yours

  1. I used to hate offsite links that opened in a new window, but now I appreciate them. The new window allows me to explore freely without fear of losing the original web site. I hate it when I lose track of a cool web site.

    Some people scream, “I know how to use the back button, I’m not stupid! I don’t want a new window to open!” That’s nice, but when I and many other people click on a link, we go far beyond that first page, so the back button can become basically useless. Many people wander through dozens of offsite pages and it becomes almost impossible to use the back button to get back to the original web site.

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