On the subject of hyperlinks

Dear Internet:

When creating hyperlinks that open new windows or tabs, please consider the following rules before putting that target=”new” argument into your anchor tags.

  1. Does the link go to an unrelated website, and would opening it disrupt something on the currently open page (like, say, a text box that someone might have typed something into)? That is, would clicking on the link be a destructive action? Then go ahead and let it open in a new link or tab.
  2. Is the link’s destination logically a part of navigating the current website? Then do not open a new window.
  3. Clicking on an advertisement should always open up a new window.
  4. For the love of God, resist the temptation to open up windows that cannot be resized or lack address bars, status bars, resize widgets, etc. This drives me off the wall.

See, the idea for opening up new tabs/windows is not to disrupt the natural flow of browsing a website. So long as a site has a good hierarchy and navigation system, opening up new windows shouldn’t happen very often. If you’re writing a forum post, for instance, clicking on a BBcode explanation link or a smiley list shouldn’t replace the post editor page that you have open already. That’s a good case for spawning a new window. However, if you’re just reading forums or blogs, links to external sites should usually use the same window. Airliners.net is very guilty of this, as every photo opens up in a new window. Most of that site still behaves like something out of the turn of the century, though, so it’s not surprising.

It’s also very frustrating when clicking around links on Redsox.com that I get seemingly random new windows. Does clicking on the series info page on redsox.com really need to spawn a new window with the series information? I’ve got a goddamned back button, guys.

Peace and love, me.


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