Monday, September 22, 2008

Hyperlink behavior - forcing popup window

"I'm clicking the link, but nothing happens"

Many websites use popup hyperlinks. While that has been fine in the past, with the advent of tabbed browsers, hyperlink popup windows will not behave as predictable as they once did. Furthermore, since users may have several websites open, it adds to the possibility that another site is using the same windows entitled "new".

The problem is that the hyperlink uses the directive target="new" to cause the popup window. Subsequent clicks to that hyperlink will cause the new windows to be refreshed. Microsoft Windows will bring that Internet Explorer to focus or cause it to flash until clicked. However, with tabbed browsing only newly opened tabs will come into focus. So when a user clicks on an already opened tab, it will not be flashing or be focused on.

If the web experience intent is to guarantee that the user will be shown the hyperlink in a popup form; instead use target="_blank". However if you want the end-user to use a single browser window, use the "new" declaration of another name.


Target Link TestExperience
newSubsequent clicks does not yield new popups.
_blankEach click gives its own popup.

Note that "_new" is treated the same as "new".


Ben said...

So if I want to use multiple clicks I should use the _new property. Is that correct

David Rodecker said...

I've had question for clarification on this; let me re-summarize based upon the intended behavior.

Use Case:
I want a popup window, but subsequent hyper clicks should re-use the SAME popup window (if it still exists). ==> Use target=new.
I want each click on the hyperlink to be in its OWN popup window. ==> Use target=_blank.

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