In such cases you will disable your visitor to access your content.
What about cell phone users? How about sight impaired users? For the ones who when changing the current window or popping up new windows can be very disoriented, while they cannot see that this has happened. And how much percent are they?
Radical changes of focus in a GUI environment are extremely disorienting to blind users who are navigating by screen reader, and thus can be considered discrimination against the visually impaired.
- Opening a link in a new window also breaks the back' button on the browser, preventing back-tracking in navigation;
- It also bypasses the tabbed navigation in Galeon and Mozilla, irritating users of that feature;
- If your user wants to open the link in a new window, he or she can do so quite easily with most browsers; there is no need to force the issue;
- It's about leaving the user the freedom to navigate in the way that works best for him or her;
- It's not unusual for a designer never to have thought about such issues; that's why we have the WCAG to point out to us things we might otherwise overlook. Or?
What does the usability professional Jakob Nielsen say about all this?
Links are the Web's basic building blocks, and users' ability to understand them and to use various browser features correctly is key to enhancing their online skills.
Links that don't behave as expected undermine users' understanding of their own system. A link should be a simple hypertext reference that replaces the current page with new content. Users hate unwarranted pop-up windows. When they want the destination to appear in a new page, they can use their browser's "open in new window" command -- assuming, of course, that the link is not a piece of code that interferes with the browser’s standard behavior.
Users deserve to control their own destiny. Computers that behave consistently empower people by letting them use their own tools and wield them accurately.
Another fact is, that if you markup with XHTML 1.1 Strict, the "target=_blank" is not supported!
If you do so, see in which cases it would make sence, as Neil Turner describes in his article "Beware of Opening Links in a New Window", published at SitePoint.com:
- If a link is for a document, such as a PDF, RTF or Word file. Opening a new window will allow the image or document to download in the background. It also prevents users from accidentally closing the browser window when they close the document.
- If a link is for a large image. In this case, a new window allows the Web user to keep a browser window open while the image is being downloaded.
- If a link is for a printable version of an article or Web page. Here, a new window allows users to keep the current window open while they print the page or article in the background.
For each of these instances, use text and an icon to indicate that a new browser window will open:
So if you absolutely must open a link in a new window, explicitly warn the user with a clear indication that the page will open in a different window. Provide a title attribute on the anchor tag with a description indicating that the "link opens a new window";
Adding an icon like this http://www.webnauts.net/images/open.gif, would be even more convenient.