I work on a college website and I need to link to a faculty intranet from the navigation. This is a change from the current setup, so I'm just wondering if I need to warn the faculty that they are leaving the site. Another option would be to have the intranet open in a new tab. Is there a best practice for this?
Universities (as with very large corporations) have many departments and I rarely have come across a use-case where informing users that they are going to a new section was necessary.
Assuming your users are logged in then I would recommend a seamless transition to the faculty intranet. I assume that, by design or otherwise, the intranet will have a different look and feel than where they were before.
If the faculty member is not logged in then he would have to log in to access the intranet.
I would strongly recommend against opening a new tab. It is horrible usability. Imagine if the library and each department opened a new tab when navigating there. The back button and all sense of continuity is lost.
I think this quote by Jakob Nielsen is still relevant today:
- Opening up new browser windows is like a vacuum cleaner sales person who starts a visit by emptying an ash tray on the customer's carpet. Don't pollute my screen with any more windows...If I want a new window, I will open it myself!
Designers open new browser windows on the theory that it keeps users on their site. But even disregarding the user-hostile message implied in taking over the user's machine, the strategy is self-defeating since it disables the Back button which is the normal way users return to previous sites. Users often don't notice that a new window has opened, especially if they are using a small monitor where the windows are maximized to fill up the screen. So a user who tries to return to the origin will be confused by a grayed out Back button.
tl;dr I don't think there is any reason to tell the faculty member that they are entering the intranet. If they clicked the link by mistake they can easily walk back out.