Opening links on websites

First, let me tell you how I open my websites in Internet Explorer 7 and/or Firefox.

Open link in new window

SHIFT + Mouse-click

Open link in new tab window

CTRL + Mouse-click

Open link in same window

Drag link to tab

Refresh post-back page without re-posting

Drag icon from address bar to tab

Because I’m used to this myself, some time ago I stopped using the “target” attribute in the links I post in my blogs. Because users now have so much control over how they want to open links, I think it’s time to forget about that target attribute and let the user decide for itself. Using this attribute seems to be something from the past, and more and more websites seem to adopt this. It’s probably already well known under true website designers and/or developers, but as I don’t do that much web development myself anymore, it might also be a well-known but unwritten rule that exists since some time.

This has effect on my behavior in clicking on links. When I actually want to leave a website and follow a link, I just click it. And it always bothers me when sites still use the target=”new” attribute. I then have to close the new window and drag the just clicked link to the tab.

This also reminds me a benefit that Firefox has. You can drag your links to any opened tab, while with IE7 you can only drag the link to the currently active tab. The same goes for the icon in the address bar. When you’ve submitted some info to a post (did a post-back) you can refresh that page without resubmitting everything by dragging the icon from the address bar to a tab. In IE7, just the active tab.

So perhaps I can persuade you to lose the “target” attribute in your href tags from now on…

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4 Responses

  1. Ryan Rinaldi says:

    Not until I see my mom SHIFT + click or CTRL + click. Once that happens I’ll drop the target attribute like a bad habit.

  2. Hehehehe… Have you tried EXPLAINING her?

    And how does she currently open websites in a second window when the target isn’t there? And perhaps she just finds all these windows popping up irritating like … Kinda like I do! 😉

  3. Brian Schmitt says:

    I know its not the point of your article, but did you know you can ‘middle’ click your mouse wheel and open pages in a new tab?

  4. @Brian : No I did not know that! Thanks!

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