Are there best practices around when it's ok to open links into a new tab and when it's best not to?
For me it depends on the needs. There are generally two scenarios..
- I want user to continue on another article.
- I want user to take reference from another article.
If its 1st then he is done with current page and so the link should be opening in same tab. If its 2nd then he should be coming back to the current article after taking reference so, the link should be opened in new tab.
Example: 1. Youtube videos. (Done with current video interested in watching new one) 2. Ads on youtube. (Preserves current experience)
Sometimes exceptions are there user may want to goto another article but wants the current article left open too then they can open the link in new tab via context menu.
Just a general sense.
I would refer to this article on CSS Tricks. It list both good and bad instances to open links in a new window (i.e. use
- Because you like it that way
- Because you don't want users to ever leave your page
- To differentiate between "internal" and "external" links
- Because it links to a PDF
- Because a client wants it that way
- Because it's on an infinite scroll page
- When a user is working on something on the page that might be lost if the current page changed
- Because there is user-initiated media playing
- For some technologically obscure point.
Essentially, changing the default behavior of something should generally be avoided, unless you have an iron clad reason to do so. Remember that users can always open links in to tabs if they want to (⌘-Click), but if you force them to, it takes away that choice.