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Re: external links & new windows


From: Nathalie Sequeira
Date: Nov 27, 2010 8:03AM

please excuse my very late response (I had a bicycle accident and have
been becoming sensitized to what it's like to have no hands... though
only temporarily.)

Thank you all very much for your thoughts and findings - I'm almost
cured of new-window-itis.
A client of mine, however, is now requiring that I document our change
in linking policy - i.e., indicate founded sources that corroborate that
opening external links in same window is, indeed, more acccessible...
I have been thinking of setting up a test suite and doing some good user
testing on ambiguous questions such as this, but still feel
not-quite-competent to do so, since I perceive user testing as a very
complex thing.
Thus, I'd be very grateful for pointers!

>>>> On 11/9/2010 Jared Smith wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 4:42 PM, Chris Hoffman wrote:
>> One is for links that go to other sites, and the other is for links to non-HTML resources (PDFs, video files, etc.)
> Perhaps hidden in this argument is the suggestion that users don't
> overly care if it's a link to another site.
Well yes, maybe it IS also a bit of a "tick" on the developer end to
exaggerate the importance of whether a link is external or not.

But if all our well-worded link texts, titles, "(pdf)"-labelling and
whatnot aim at demystifying where a link is going to take us,
my reasoning is that indicating that a link leads to an external site IS
a relevant bit of information for users as well (after all, user will
encounter a different site structure, layout, ... there).

>> With Jared's comments about SEO dilution in mind, is there a good solution for these cases?
> A good, though not perfect, solution is to write the content to the
> link using JavaScript after page load. The WebAIM site currently uses
> hidden text and a visible background icon for external links. We will
> probably dynamically add this text and icon using JavaScript in a
> future site release. You don't even have to give the link a class name
> - just detect whether it links to someplace other than your own domain
> and then add the class name and text if appropriate.
The only issue I have with this is that with javascripting turned off
the "external" information is also lost (= your "though not perfect"?)
Of course, IF one chooses to peruse the link target adress & compare to
the present site's, one can still see one will be going off-site.
But who does that??? :)