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Target Blank

posted by DL Byron on April 21, 2004

Alvey posts on targetting new windows with links today and it reminded me of a discussion Nick and I had a month ago. I've argued on both sides of this topic and where I think it still works is for intranets. It's very easy to get lost on an intranet, for various reasons, and opening a new window for external links helps the user understand that they've left the current site. On an intranet, there's usually one browser that doesn't support tabbed browsering and no pop up ads.

I instant messaged a usability expert I trust on this topic:

Lara says:
my perspective is that any external link on an intranet should open in a new window - no matter the size of the intranet - because it represents going "outside the firewall"

Lara says:
and sometimes i recommend opening new windows for content that is posted on the intranet (within the firewall) simply because of the difference of the content - for instance

Lara says:
 an executive is posting a blog internally, and he links to an email recap in one of his postings

-b- says:
   (oooh, blogging execs!)

Lara says:
i typically open that in a new window, so employees can read it separately without losing track of the blog page - or with ppt's - very different content from what employee was first reading - so new window is needed

Lara says:
 AND - on internet sites - i favor new windows within articles, because i don't like to lose my original read as i'm tracking something else down that was linked/mentioned within the article

Lara says:
but then again - that piece is pretty subjective - since there are right-click ways around it (as Nick mentioned last) - honestly, i didn't know about that option and may just need to retrain myself when clicking on links in stories

Lara's right about right-click and tabbed browsing. That assumes a user sophistication, or browser, that may not exist.

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