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Blog and website links should not open new browser window

Some folks are paranoid that if all links on their blog or website do not open on a new browser that people will leave their blog or website. That’s nuts. Can you imagine someone browsing through your blog then having 15 open windows? That’s a royal pain for someone you’d think you want to please.

For people suggesting the practice, Greg Storey of Airbag Industries and a highly respected designer & developer has some stronger words.

My experience says these people are dumb as dirt and should pitch their snake oil schemes elsewhere, like deep below the Pacific Ocean — whereas I have come to understand deep-sea life forms are anxious to get discovered and will do anything to get noticed especially if it means fifteen seconds on Discovery HD.

In all the user testing I have done in the eleven years I’ve been in this business, opening links in new windows (the equivalent of pop-ups) do exactly jack squat to keep a user at a website any longer than without them. They do however leave the user confused (often times they don’t see that a new window has opened and will try to click the back button to get back to the original website but can’t because there is no history associated with the new window) and increasingly irritated.

Comments to Greg’s post do offer some examples where the practice may be okay. But they’re pretty limited.

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