Possible Duplicate:
make links posted by users open in a new window

It would be a good idea to open a users website in a new window. Now when I click on the link of a users website it opens up in the same window as SO. I could just right-click and open in new window, but I think just opening a new window would be nice.

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    Does your middle-mouse button not work? How about Ctrl-click? – random Apr 13 '10 at 0:34
  • What was the reason of the downvote? – Saif Bechan Apr 13 '10 at 0:35
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    It could mean many things, but since it's a feature-request, it's probably because someone doesn't think it's a good feature to have. – random Apr 13 '10 at 0:36
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    Yeah I can use the other options like the ctrl buttons etc. But I am used to having non-related websites open in new windows. If it was a link related to the website I can imagine opening in the same window, but here you are brought somewhere else. It is just strange that it opens in the same window, that is why I forget to press ctrl – Saif Bechan Apr 13 '10 at 0:42
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    @random. You'd be surprised how many people don't know about the wheel-click. You actually reminded me! – MPelletier Apr 13 '10 at 0:42
  • I don't even have a wheen I'm on a laptop, but I can do ctrl+click – Saif Bechan Apr 13 '10 at 0:44
  • @random: this question was about links in the posts. Mine is about the users website. – Saif Bechan Apr 13 '10 at 0:59
  • You'll have to define "non-related" websites then. Profile links are related to the user profile. – random Apr 13 '10 at 1:01
  • I think you know exactly what I mean by non-related. I can assume that the links in the posts are opened in the same window, because they relate to your question. But ones website is different as it does not relate to any question or answer, and SO is based on Q&A. But I can understand the points made in the other question. It would have been nicer for a small explanation instead of a downvote. – Saif Bechan Apr 13 '10 at 1:10
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    The user decides where a link opens up, not the site! – fretje Apr 13 '10 at 13:31

If you want to open links in a new window/tab you can:

  • Press Ctrl + Left Click
  • Click with the middle mouse button/wheel
  • Right click and select from the drop menu

If you don't use any of those, it opens in the current window/tab. I like it that way, as it makes the web work in a consistent manner and makes me feel in control.

When the interface does something unexpected, like opening a new window on click, it generates frustration.

  • I understand the points made. In that way it is a good standard for doing things. Not a lot of website have this kind of standard, so my expectancy was a little different. On a side note, you get frustrated a little quick man. There are far more worst things in life than another tab opening :P That was just a joke. – Saif Bechan Apr 13 '10 at 1:51

I prefer to control my browsing. If I want something to open in a new window I click my center mouse button, or right click and use "Open link in new [tab|window]". My preference is that the website designer not force me to browse in a particular way.

It's particularly annoying because there's usually no way to know what a particular link is going to do.

  • Well yeah this is a discussion point in the matter of expectancy and forcing someone. I can expect different things than you. Most of the time when I click a website on a profile page I expect it to open in a new window, because I don't want to leave the page. That is based on my expectancy. In that way, I feel forced to press ctrl-click when I want to view something. I think it's done for non-experienced users, you don't want them to leave your website. But I can understand where you are coming from. – Saif Bechan Apr 13 '10 at 1:40
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    It's also annoying because no browser has a right-click-open-in-same-window override, so I'm stuck with the unwanted pop-up/tab. Ugh. I hate sites that do this. – bobince Apr 13 '10 at 12:53
  • You can just drag the link onto the navigation bar. No strange clicks, works fast and efficient. – Saif Bechan Apr 13 '10 at 16:24
  • @Saif - How do you know when a link is going to open a new window? I don't usually find out until I click on it, and then I curse the infidel web developer who thought their website was so important that they weren't willing to close it. – Pollyanna Apr 13 '10 at 16:31

After reading all the answers and comment, I just wanted to have a few things said. Please read it with an open mind, and understand the points I make without forcing me to think your way.

Sorry for not defining my question correctly
I first up want to apologize to not give every possible way how I could have opened a new browser window. Next time I will supply every possible way of doing something in the question itself.

Should Links Open In New Windows?
json supplied me with a nice link that covers most of the point that people made here. Points about forcing the user and it begin evil etc.

In the exact same document there is a section "Every rule has an exception". Which supplies a nice feature of placing a small picture next to link indicating that it will open a new window. This will take away the anger people have of opening a new window. I know there are different use cases mentioned, but I think this is a perfect use case for this icon.

What a good designer should do. !important
I have read a lot of comments saying a good webdesigner(s) should not force you to browse in in a specific way. But the real fact it, he forces everything because he wants you to have a pleasurable experience. It is the role of a good designer to make the website so that both experienced and inexperienced (people that do not know about the no-new-window-rule) have the same experience. It has nothing to do about forcing.

Simple efficiency Test
The role of a good programmer/designer is making your website in an efficient way.

If I take 100 peolpe that clicked the link(website in users profile), and I asked how many of the people wanted to stay on the SO website, I think the number would be far above 80%. So rather then having all 80 people press ctrl-click or middle click.

It would be more efficient to have it just open in a new window for all the 80 users, using just the normal click. And for the 20 that want it to open in the same window they can do so by opening it in the same window. A small icon can indicate that it will open in a new window.

Opening something in the same window is just by dragging the link onto the address bar or to the bottom left corner.

Being clear to everybody
Using this method you are clear to everybody, even to those that haven't read the small rules. I know for sure there are a lot of people that have clicked the link, and had to press the back button.

In this sense, you are forcing people to think your way. Just supplying people with indications what is going to happen, people will be forced but they know what is going to happen.

Forcing people to browse a certain way is part of the designer jobs. He does have to be clear on it, and it has to be a fun experience.

Possible answer
The only answer that is really correct is SO just saying: "We choose it to do it this way". It has nothing to do with forcing, because either way you are forcing people to think a certain way. You can just choose to do it one way or another. If SO just chooses to open in the same window, I can respect that. All other answers just don't make any sense.


I think it's a fair request. It's only a small code change and definitely something I would expect (i.e. external links have a target="_blank").

Half the time I crtl click links anyways because I use tabs.

  • SOFU uses a HTML4 strict dtd, which doesn't allow target="_blank". – perbert Apr 13 '10 at 1:33
  • Why not XHTML Strict? Why HTML 4? – Josh K Apr 13 '10 at 2:02
  • Eh. XHTML Strict doesn't allow it either. Any ideas why? – Josh K Apr 13 '10 at 3:59
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    Because it's a bad idea to wrest control of creating new windows/tabs from the user. – random Apr 13 '10 at 4:15
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    Yes, but sometimes links shouldn't open in the current window. Perfect example is the trio mashup I'm working on. When you click on a question you should go back to the site, not stay on mine. I just realized it doesn't validate at all. Validation is something that's important to me, it means my code is in line with everyone else and should be readable by anyone. – Josh K Apr 13 '10 at 4:34
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    @Josh K, that's why the browsers give you easy access to the action of open in new tab/window. – perbert Apr 13 '10 at 12:20
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    @Josh K: Sorry to burst your bubble a little, but IE renders 100%-valid code wrong :P – Phoshi Apr 13 '10 at 13:33
  • @Phoshi: I'm not talking about rendering, I'm talking about the code base itself and other people viewing / editing it. I don't rely on validation to display proper rendering. – Josh K Apr 13 '10 at 14:36
  • @Josh K: Oh, then absolutely validity is a great thing. – Phoshi Apr 13 '10 at 17:37

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