I am building a feed aggregator for and one problem that cam into my mind is whether to use an inline popup that show the external article page. In the first picture below is how my aggregator looked like (different colours on title, author, content).

However, the second option is the traditional way that the article page opens in a new tab. I thought by having the popup, I will decrease the chances to forgot my page and continue reading articles on the page just opened in a new tab.

For the inline popup will be used something like Fancybox (picture 2).

What is your opinion about user-interaction/behaviour?

Update : There will be a mobile version of the site without the inline popup.

This is kinda the structure of my aggregator.

enter image description here

Here is a new page loaded in the same window using Fancybox.

enter image description here

  • How will the popup work on mobile? It looks like it severely cuts the window size, a lot of pages may not display right on desktop, let alone small pages. I'd advise against the popup. New tabs aren't always the best solution, as they break the back button but they're preferable to the popup solution IMO
    – Zelda
    Commented Oct 6, 2011 at 15:33
  • @BenBrocka that's true but I will have a mobile view also.
    – EnexoOnoma
    Commented Oct 6, 2011 at 16:21
  • I assume the mobile view will always open in a new tab then, right? Seems like all the more reason to keep things consistent within the app and standard website conventions
    – Zelda
    Commented Oct 6, 2011 at 19:16

2 Answers 2


I would prefer to have the external page open in a new tab. It seems more unusable to load another web page in a modal. If a person enjoys using your feed aggregation page, they will return to it once they are done with the selected article.


It should spawn a new tab. If the user wants to follow a link in the content, they will have issues getting back to the original article in a modal window (no back button). I did a quick search to find if it's possible to spawn a new tab from a modal iframe, but I couldn't find anything that confirms it.

Ideally, if the user can visit linked content and then return back to the original content, whether via the Modal window or a new tab, I think the modal is the best solution.

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