[thelist] Why target="_blank" is evil

Niklaus Haldimann n.haldimann at derbund.ch
Thu Dec 14 07:40:05 CST 2000

Hi gang.

Today's task is to convince my boss, that it's evil to use the
target="_blank" attribute in anchors too often.

In my opinion target="_blank" is in most cases evil, because it renders the
back button useless. A lot of people surf in full screen mode and don't
realize, when a new window is opened. When they try to get back, they will
only be able to get to the first page loaded in the new window.

I think target="_blank" is a good thing, when used on a page with many
links that clearly go to other sites. It is also good to add a few lines of
text to such pages, like: "All links open in a new window. Close new window
to get back to this page."

My boss' take is of course that he wants people to stick around on our
site, but I think with adding target="_blank" to each and every out-site
link he achieves exactly the opposite, since people who really want to go
back to our site will rather know how to use the back button than close a
new window.

My opinion on this matter is just experience based and I don't have any
hard facts to present to my boss. What do you think? Has anybody done
useability testing on that matter?


http://eBund.ch http://eGames.ch http://eWahlen.ch

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