External Links Should Open in New Tabs


It might be me, I might be old fashioned in my views on life, but I really think that web designers/developers are missing a trick with how they treat external links within their websites.

I guess going back a few years the majority of web users complained that when they clicked an external link from a particular website it opened a new window, and depending on how it opened it was at times confusing (I personally never used to mind it!); but the wonderful introduction of browser tabs this has all changed.

Instead of opening up new windows, you can now magically open links to external sites in new tabs. The big and important difference here is that browser tabs are easier for users to manage than browser windows.

I know that there is also an argument that if a visitor to your site clicks on an external link that this new link should be seen as part of a seamless customer journey and they should see this new site in their current browsing session …. Bunkum!

And surely when you open an external links in the same tab for a user and they want to continue their journey on the original site, you create back-button fatigue for them; this doesn't sound like a very good user experience! Does it?

I know this is a personal rant, but I feel that it’s an important one, I’m getting fed up of following links to external sites that interest me, for me to only need to fight my way back to the original site to follow my original journey.

And I know that I can Ctrl and click to force a new tabbed session, but that’s not the point, I bet only a small percentage of web users actually know that anyway.

Quite simply, links that take users to a different (external) website should open in new tabs. Links that take users to a different page on the same website should open in the same tab. This is the right and sensible approach to take.

0 comments:

Post a comment