Most people know how to open your article’s outbound links in new tabs or windows, especially readers of a tech site. Modern browsers make multiple-tab/window management very easy for almost everyone who wants them, and the people who don’t know how to manage them usually don’t want them.
The best practice for the modern web is to let people manage their own windows and tabs.
-Marco Arment, “Forcing links to open in new windows: an argument that should have ended 15 years ago”, Marco.org
On previous iterations of this site, I had always used the ‘target=”_blank”’ item in my link markup, mainly due to the fact that I was using Tumblr’s built-in editor, which made it an easy, single click away. However, I read a post by Matt Gemmell1 that showed me the light regarding its user hostility. Now, every time I visit a site that directs me to a new tab when I click a link, I let out an audible groan.2 With the move to Markdown for all of my writing, in addition to the fact that I now dislike the behavior, I left it behind by virtue of the fact that Markdown leaves it out by default.
Either way, the behavior is, at best, simply unnecessary cruft in a website design (or ignorance) and, at worst, an actively user-hostile choice. For experiences that show signs of the latter, I honestly hope that website designers get with the times.
See the section entitled, Hypertext Etiquette, for all the rules. I agree with every single one and suggest you read the entire post if you are a blogger or want to know more about designing a website’s behavior specifically for reading. ↩
It is actually one of the reason why I no longer read The Verge. The site has tons of links and each one directs me to a new tab. As Arment says, give me (or any reader for that matter) the choice of how to manage my open items. ↩
Did the Internet community peak at bookmarks? Asked in a different and perhaps more complete way: just as technologies like RSS and email in their purest forms are hard to beat even as technology marches forward, what better technology exists to keep track of information on the ever-expanding Internet than bookmarks? Taken a step further, what better way to share the bookmarked information than a site of your own? As such, I‘ve been reading, which is why I write now.
Working in and having a passion for libraries, I am struck by the fact that the way bookmarks work in the physical world is not directly analogous to bookmarks in the digital world. Bookmarks in the digital world are instead like dog-eared pages or highlighted passages; if you think of the Internet as a single tome, that is. In any case, anything that moves you to deface a book should probably be shared or become immortalized in some other way than just a reference for a future version of yourself.