Should links open in new windows?

eCommerce 0 Comments 9 Views 0 Like

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Occasionally I get a request from people who want links from their website to open in new windows. The Web123 CMS doesn’t have the option to choose whether a link should open in a new window or not: but that’s for a very good reason.

Most websites, for most users, will not open new windows for links. Big, popular websites such as Google, YouTube and Amazon open new links in the same window. So it’s fair to say that most people will be used to the fact that a link opens in the same window they were already in. This is what users expect and we feel that it’s important that things work the way your visitors expect them to.

Lets think about two example users of your website; an experienced “Web Savvy” visitor and an inexperienced visitor.

Your “web savvy” visitor probably regularly uses tabs in their browser. They happily navigate websites and open new links in new tabs when they know they want to go back to your website. These sorts of visitors know how to open links in new websites when they need to and they’re unlikely to get lost or stuck and unable to return to your website.

If you open links in new windows you’re probably going to annoy Web Savvy visitors. If they wanted to open your link in a new window they’d take care of it themselves! Forcing a new window can really annoy someone who wants to open some things in new tabs.

I’m a “web savvy” visitor, and for me forcing links to open in new windows is probably in the top 10 most annoying things a website can do to me!

 

But what about your inexperienced visitors?

These visitors probably don’t use the internet very much and they might be a little intimidated by it. Research shows that these visitors may have trouble navigating with tabs and like to do one thing at a time. For these visitors the “back” button is very important. It’s how they navigate between the websites they’ve been looking at.

If you spring a new window on an inexperienced visitor, chances are they’re not even going to notice. And when they want to go “back” to your website? They can’t! The back button no longer leads there and they’re stuck on some other website. By the time they close the window and end up back on your website, chances are they’ve already lost interest.

I know you want to keep visitors on your website but, funnily enough, opening windows on your visitors when they don’t expect them may cause people to get lost or frustrated.

What do you prefer? Tell us in the comment section below.

Need a hand with your website? Think about making the switch to Web123 where you get free support for the life of your website! Find out more about a Web123 website for your small business.

 

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