Should I Open Links In New Window?When I’m surfing the internet, I open all links by clicking on my mouse wheel, which puts them in a new tab. I use tabs like a short-term bookmarking system to remember what things I need to address during the day. It’s not the most efficient process in the world but it works for me.
It never gets excessive to the point where I have 30+ tabs but there are days where it gets up there. 🙂
So I never gave today’s question much thought until now.
Lance of MoneyLifeAndMore.com asks:
The user experience question I have is whether or not I should set up all of my links in articles to open in new tabs. I do this now, but am beginning to think it may not be a good strategy for bounce rates, not that it particularly matters.
I feel most users are advanced enough to know to right click and open the link in a new tab if they don’t want to leave the current page, but I thought I’d see what your thoughts were.
First, this is all a matter of personal preference. There is no right or wrong way.
Next, I don’t think you should make any user related decisions based on bounce rate. It’s such a flawed metric (here’s how to reduce bounce rates with a line of code) that you’re better off thinking about it from a UX perspective instead. (but we all knew that anyway)
When you put target=”_blank” in a link to open it to a new window, it opens a new window and moves the focus of the browser to that window. It might be jarring, since it’s a new tab or window, but your reader clicked on the link himself or herself. They wanted to go there in the first place. It’s still expected behavior – they are on the new page. The old page just happens to behind it or in another tab.
Personally, I always had links open in the current window and more recently I started changing it to open external links in a new window, I figure that opening in a new window doesn’t mess with user experience, it might actually be better, and I know not everyone knows how to open in a new tab (tabs are relatively new, only in the last few years). If 99% know to do it, that’s 1% that I’m keeping on my site while still offering external resources.
I think opening in a new tab is a nice balance – you can link out and not worry that you’ll lose that traffic because they clicked on the link and never returned.
If you have a question, let me know and I’ll try to answer it!
How do you open links? New window or load it up in the current one? What’s your reasoning behind it?
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