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Opening website external links in new window — published usability tests

Should you open a new tab when linking to an external website.

Historically I know this was a big no no. Nielsen and others presented research that shows opening a new window is bad practice. You should leave the user in control. But has user behavior/expectation changed with the advent of tabs? (I hypothesise most users now have browsers set up so that target="_blank" opens in a new tab)

I think we should be opening in the same tab:

Gives the user the choice Doesnt break the back button Works better
with assistive technologies such as screen readers.

but the following article gives a different opinion: http://uxmovement.com/navigation/why-external-links-should-open-in-new-tabs/

Any experience or research to back up either side of the argument would be greatly appreciated.

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I've closed this as a duplicate because even though the other question was really about new windows the actual answers would all be the same as for this question so you're unlikely to get new answers here, and it's beneficial to keep one canonical reference for this sort of question. –  JonW Oct 3 '12 at 13:05
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marked as duplicate by Benny Skogberg, JonW Oct 3 '12 at 13:04

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

1 Answer

Should you open a new tab when linking to an external website?

No.

Don't take away control, and in the case of the back button functionality, from the user. Currently the user has a choice to open in the same or a different tab. Leave them free to exercise that choice. Whilst support for perceived optimal strategies is useful, they should not be insisted upon.

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