How do you like links to work?

I was having this discussion with our developer in work the other day and thought I would put it to the masses for our research.

So I put it to all of you, what do you prefer? Do you like your external links to open in a new window/tab or do you like them opening in the current window/tab?

This will be really good research for the UX/UI side of the large project I’m working on at the moment in work, so I really do appreciate all the answers you give.

If you could fill out the poll on this link, that would be great.

Join the conversation - 12 Comments

  1. Always open in new tab! Opening in a complete new window is annoying though

  2. As a user, I personally open all external links in new tabs myself by control clicking.

    As a developer, I don’t like to make sure user do something they’re not expecting. For instance, setting target=_blank to force them into a new tab I don’t think is the right way to do it, unless your indicating with an icon that they’re going to get a new tab.

  3. James Morrison

    Always in the current tab, unless I specifically select a new tab. Never in a new window.

    P.S. I’m a developer…

  4. I hate when links open in the same tab/window. Drives me mad. Especially if I’ve already filled out a form or something in the original tab. I’d lose all my progress.

  5. target=”_blank” is deprecated in HTML5 and all links should remain in one tab. By doing this the user is never presented with what might appear to be a broken back button (not everyone understands a new tab has opened and they can’t figure out why the back button isn’t going back to where they were).

    By forcing a link to open in a new tab, you remove the users choice. So for me, never open in a new tab, let the user decide and if they don’t know they can open a new tab, at least you haven’t broken their working process.

  6. @Ian Lunn you said that “target=”_blank” is deprecated in HTML5 and all links should remain in one tab. ”

    Obviously you’re right that target=”_blank” is deprecated, but that’s not because anyone at the w3c is taking an opinion on whether or not links should open in new windows, it’s because there are better ways to do it (e.g. with javascript) which aren’t’ so tightly-coupled with the HTML.

  7. I agree with Ian and Ben.

    I always like to open links in a new tab, but with my own control clicking.

  8. Mostly, I would never open links in a new window because as Ian says it is removing the user’s choice. However, there are exceptions to this when the linked information is critical to the user’s process in the current window. For example, ‘View Terms and Conditions’ links in shopping carts.

  9. Catch 22.

    As a user I prefer to control what windows / tabs get opened but not
    Everyone is as tech savvy as me.

    As a developer, I always open external links with a new window as I’d hate for someone to be in the middle of a form / order process to be redirected to a new

  10. Coded to open in the same tab but I always CMD click to open in a new tab. But I want that choice.

  11. Many users don’t even know of the choice to open in a new tab (you should see my Mum with a computer – she loves to shop online but has never used the right-clicking!). These are exactly the sort of users who may get lost if you send them away from your site – new tab every time!

  12. I absolutely can’t stand when a website opens up on the same tab and takes me away from the website I was currently on as more often than not I still want to browse that website further.

    If I had a top 5 list of the things that drive me mental when browsing the internet, this has got to take first place.

    Unless it is a main navigation link it should always be set to target=”_blank”. Just my take on it though.

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