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An application development team has recently requested to overload the standard open in new window link with a dual purpose set. I.E the regular text link as mocked up below would open the link page in the existing browser window, but if the user clicks the new window icon the link page will be open in a new window/tab. This seems like a dark/anti-pattern but then again how many user really know they can right click and open a link in a new window.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

So should this type of functionality be supported?; or is it better to give these internal users training and have them right-click to open a page in a new window as they need it.

  • If you give the users training, (not having an opinion on that), educate them on ctrl-click, middle click (new tab) or shift-click (new window) as well. – Inca Nov 18 '13 at 18:33
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Does opening the link in the current windows can be a pain for the user ? Does he really need to see 2 windows at the same time or is it just about personnal preference of navigation ?

I had the same issue on a industrial web application and in our case, we decided to put only direct links and to teach people that they can use the Ctrl+click or the wheel-click. We also try to gather all the information he needs in one single page.

That way, you don't have to put 2 links each time and the user will have a better knowledge of his browser thanks to you.

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