Opening links in a new window

If you are in charge of maintaining a website, you’re probably familiar with creating links to other web pages, either in HTML or an editor like Dreamweaver. When adding a link you have the option to open the web page in the current browser window or a new one. In the past, it was very common to set links to open in a new window. But it’s become less accepted over the years for many usability reasons.

Here are a few important ones:

  • Users are more likely to expect the new page to load in the current window. Having a new window pop up unexpectedly could be distracting.
  • Many people use the back button to navigate on the web. If the link opens in a new window the back button won’t take them to the page they came from, which might be confusing.
  • It can be disorienting for novice web users and for the visually impaired. They might not realize that a new window has opened and might struggle switching between windows.

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