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On websites, links can be opened in new windows/tabs using the middle-click button, CTRL+left click or Context Menu->'Open in new tab' option. However, this behaviour seems to be not implemented for submit buttons on forms, such as search forms.

For example, when watching music videos on YouTube, I often wish to search for my next video while the current one continues playing. I typically type in my query, but am stuck at how to search without interrupting the video. Middle-click and the other actions don't work, which seems quite strange.

So it got me thinking. Is there a nice, intuitive way to allow a user to submit a form, loading in a new window at their request? The shortcuts for links seem to be learned behaviours, and I suspect that many people would see a button and a link as distinct. The only intuitive way I can think of is having an alternative button with label 'Search (New Window)', but this seems quite convoluted and bulky.

  • Do you mean a way to achieve this technically? – JohnGB Apr 5 '13 at 22:36
  • In Google Chrome you can do your search, then Ctrl-click the "Back" button -- and the previous page will open in the new window. – Pasha Apr 6 '13 at 2:17
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There is no known UI/UX patterns to address this as it depends mostly on the user's settings. You can always implement this programmatically by having a "Send button" with multiple actions aka a "Button Dropdown", such as the control below taken from the Bootstrap framework.

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What really matters is to have a consistent UX, regardless of the device, the browser and the settings. Note that using such a control let users choose what they want, you're not enforcing a certain behaviour.

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