[thelist] dumb css questions for valid XHTML 1.0 Strict

Rick den Haan rick.denhaan at gmail.com
Sat May 26 17:12:53 CDT 2007

Ricky Zhou wrote:
> > external links should open in a new window.
> This isn't really a job for CSS, as it doesn't deal with presentation.
> However, I'd like to strongly discourage against making links open in new
> windows- let users control/manage their own windows.

For a website I recently finished, that was targeted at the elderly (65+
y/o), our customer required a field study on how these people actually use
websites.  We hired a company to perform this research, using a group of 30
people (15 male and 15 female) from 65 to 88 years old.  The results were
quite interesting:

* 24 of them double-clicked all links;
* 28 of them didn't know about the right-click menu;
* 17 of them closed the browser window when done with an external website
and wanting to return to the original page, 7 of them used the Home-button
to attempt to return to the original page, 5 used the Back-button to travel
back, whereas the last one just retyped the URL from his notes.

The second point is why I'm against the "let the user manage their own

Anyway, back on topic, what I generally do to make links open in a new
window, while having the XHTML code validate, is setting a rel="external"
attribute to the <a>-tag, and running a JS-function on page load that loops
through all links and sets target="_blank" that way.

There's an article on Sitepoint that explains the technique:


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