Poll: New Windows or Not?

Web designers debate long and hard about many important things, and at the top of their long list of issues is one burning question: Should external links open in new windows?

As it is right now on Motionographer, external links open in the same window, because I figured if people wanted new windows, they would right-click on the link in question and choose their favorite link behavior (new window, new tab, etc.). But then I realized that not everyone works this way. So I need your help.

Please tell me in the comments if you think external links should open in new windows. Thank you for your assistance, gentle readers.

Update: Thanks for your feedback everyone. I’ll be tweaking the code to make external links open in new windows. Oh, and for those of you who wondered why I didn’t do it that way all along, the W3C (among others) generally consider it bad form to open links in new windows. Although I ignore most of what they say, for some reason that one stuck with me.

About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.



I used tabbed Browsing, so I always force external links to open in new tabs.


*ponders this for a minute*

I think external sites should open in new windows. Or tabs, depending on your fancy (and browser).


New Windows! I’ve always got multiple programs open and multiple windows open. It’s a hassle to hit the BACK button isn’t it?


I’d vote for opening links in the same window. I don’t like browser-resizing (ah-hem … ) and I don’t like having other windows pop up on top of what I’m reading. I assume that if I clicked a link, it’s because I want to navigate there. It’s like turning a page. I can always come back to motiongrapher when I’m done, yeah? My 2¢.


new windows!
i usually prefer to close a window than hitting BACK and when the external link sends you to those sites where you can’t go back thats a hassle.

Sean Wood

New tabs. For a site like Motionographer which essentially links to other content, either you open new tabs or you constantly go back and forth to the M-og site which gets a little tiresome.


Doesn’t really matter – i throw everything into new tabs.


External Link. I have my browser set to open up new links in a new tab. How did I ever do it before tabbed browsing?! Cheers.


New windows, but like many have said, a lot already open to new tabs anyway.


New window. Only because I usually explore the linked sites a couple of pages deep. Then to get back to Motionagrapher, I have to hit back several times.

Phil Harnish

Chalk one vote for no change. Like you said, I pick whichever action for each link. Normally when I click a link without pressing ctrl or shift, I expect it to navigate the current page away. As far as I know, there is shortcut to “open link in this window” option. The only way to get that is to leave it alone.

That said, it’s still a tough decision since your site directs people to other sites and lots of people don’t know how to control what their browser does.

Good luck.


new window i guess coz usually i visit several sites from motionographer.


Does not matter, tabbed browsing here. Just press the middle key of the mouse on the link and open in a tab.

queens bridge

dude i was gunna write you justin just to say make fucking links open in a new window! it drives me nuts to have to right click all day.


New windows. Makes life easy when you don’t have to think. That and I hate having to return once I’m done, there’s always a few things to click each time you visit.


why dont we try a poll on this topic, on a new window .. hehhe


Yop new windows!


i think external links should always open in new windows


ummmm yea…..

firstly, every web designer knows to do an external window. its retarted to drive people away from your own site, thats web 101. Secondly, its obvious that people view news and articles on Motionographer, not the new site thats going to fill the window, and therefore after viewing the link, they are going to read the next one. Now im no rocket scientist, but that would mean that they somehow need to find their way BACk to motionographer everytime….
i think you are over thinking things here bro….
its not rocket science.



new windows new window new windows!


Generally I don’t like sites opening links in new windows, but for a site like motionographer, where the links essentialy are the only content, it makes sense to pop open the content in a new window.

Right clicking to open in a new window is all well and good, but a lot of mac users still use 1 button mice, and ctrl clicking is a pain in the ass. Personally I only use a wacom tablet, and I don’t automatically use the right click button on it, as it’s a bit awkward.


Links should open in a new window…


Usually you dig into links but you want to have the source to keep on diggin, at least is what i do, so i prefer new window or tabs…


New windows with custom properties are ok with me, if they don’t go full screen. And no more then 2 (which is already stretching it) ‘nested’ pop ups.


new windows please


I always use the third mouse button to open in a new tab, so it makes no difference to me… :)
I usually open in a new window on my blogs/sites.


*dashes in from the LJ feed*

No! Not new window! Bad, bad, no and did I mention bad?

Design Mistakes
User-hostile design
Aceessibility mistakes
Bad semantics

And more than that, it’s simply ugly code, b/c target_blank means to target a blank frame and you’re not using frames. Eeeeeeeeeeew. Bad HTML, no biscuit.

KK! Love the site! *marries it a bit maybe* <3


I think external links should open in new windows.
Because i hate to go back Again and again :).


i don´t care.
tabbed browsing here.

Sparkly Cobra

New Tabs, New tabs, New tabs, gotta right click and say new tab, which is really irritating

Calvin Hobbes

Definitely *not* new window.

Put it this way … if you leave as per normal behaviour, people can choose to open it in a new window via the right click option. If your link opens a new window, you don’t have the option anymore – everyone is *forced* to open a new window.

You can not possibly predict what people want to personally do – so you should leave them with the options. A website trying to unnecessarily force me down a particular path is very annoying.


New window. Motiongrapher has got lots of stuff and good links…if external links opens in new window we can view/download multiple movies at the same time.


New Windows, because i hate to use the right click or the back button. and i can open many links at the same time


Wow. Looks like the new windows people have it. I personally can’t understand this behaviour. I believe that users should be able to choose whether they have a new window or not, ditto for sites which maximize the window. If I wanted the window maximized, I would have CLICKED THE BUTTON PUT THERE FOR THAT VERY PURPOSE.

You people are all aware that you can shift+click a link to open a new window, right? You can make the choice to do so at any stage. However, if a link has target _blank, you _can’t_ choose to have it open in the same window. You’re taking that choice away from your user, which I believe is an arrogant thing to do.


new windows


new mindow, sorry mew nindow – NEW WINDOW – please…


new windows makes sense


Whatever you do, please don’t make some retarded javascript that makes manually opening in new tabs impossible.

I use tabbed browsing and open nearly all links in new-tabs by clicking the middle mousebutton (scroll wheel)


I force external links t open in a new tab, but it works only for external links. if the link is configured to open in the same window, i usually middle-click it…it’s already become a habit on the motionographer banners case…anyway…i prefer external windows, so i can keep browsing the site while the movies load.


I would say a new window. I have my browser confugered to open every “new window” in a new tab so im not worried about new windows.

Nate Moore

I use tabs. Sometimes when you are on a computer without firefox or other “tabable” programs, it can get really annoying if it doesn’t open in a new window.


I rate, open in new windows, by the way, i thought this was a blog on wether or not web designers are excited about the new windows (vista) hehe :P

yes I am excited about vista. yay!


New Windows or New Tabs for me. I like being able to close the tabs/windows and get right back to Motionographer. Do you have the site links set to open in a new window/tab now?? Because it’s always opening in the same window right now. so i have to hold the “command” key in firefox so it’ll open in my tabs.

adam b

New windows or tabs. and on a side note, no designer should be excited about an MS product. Shame on you!


Hehe..long live THA_DON!

New window. It’s web 101. What about using the EmbedTheVideo wordpress plugin, so it’s not the full window?


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