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Should I set my hyperlinks to open in a new window?

'Old school thought' (a mere 12 years ago) taught us the importance of making sure our external links open in a new window. You wanted to make sure your visitor did not get lost and was able to easily get back to your site. It felt important to make sure that your website was kept open in their browser no matter where else they went (perhaps to the website of the Art School that is hosting your gallery show and workshop, perhaps to an article about you on the Art in America website, perhaps to a mentor's website, etc.).

This is no longer the case. Most users now understand that a link is designed to take them somewhere else and that they can easy hit 'back'.

Many people do not like the 'Open in new window' functionality because it takes control of their browser. Nowadays people are savvy enough to Right Click and 'open in new tab' if they choose.

There are some great articles on the web that discuss the Pros and Cons of opening a link in a New Window or New Tab. We will ultimately leave the decision up to you on how you choose to set your links.


Click Here to read New Window for a New Link? 
by Michael Martin at ProBlogDesign.com

Here is an excerpt:

When we link out to another site, it can be hard not to consider the readers you may have just sent away. In an attempt to lessen the likelihood of losing the reader, many people force links to open in a new window, but is this really the best solution?

The Reasons For:
Your page stays open. This is undoubtedly the main reason for it. The link is loaded in a new window. When the user has finished with it, and closes the window, they’ll find your page still sitting there.

Reasons Against:
It is not your browser. As much as you would like to control your readers, you can’t. It is their browser, their internet connection, and their choice. Trying to force your choice upon them will annoy them, and every little annoyance increases the likelihood of them leaving permanently (Think about how you feel when a website forces new windows to open on you).


Click Here to read Should Links Open In New Windows?
By Vitaly Friedman

Here is an excerpt:

No, they shouldn’t. At first glance the decision to open links in new windows or not depends on the given site and the preferences of its visitors. Visitors of the sites with heavy linking are more willing to have links opened in new windows than open dozens of links in new windows manually. Visitors of less-heavy-linkage-sites are more likely to open some specific link in new window to remain on the site and continue to browse through it afterwards. However, this is not true.

In fact, developers often tend to forget a simple, almost elementary fact: if users want to close the application or leave a site, they will — doesn’t matter which obstacles are placed on their path to the exit-button. The more obstacles there are the more negative the user experience will be.

As designers, it is our decision to provide users with a clear, unambiguous choice, but we have no right to decide for users which choice they make.


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