Why our links don't open in a new window (and how to make it so that yours do!)

By on Aug 11th

Red wall

Want links to open in a new window? We suggest using CTRL-click. Photo by Stephen Heron used by CC license.

Once a month or so I get an email from a well-intentioned reader, politely suggesting that it would be much more convenient for them if we would make it so that all links on Offbeat Bride opened in a new window.

My response is always the same: Not having links open in new windows is a very conscious decision based on my 20 years of internet use.

Here are a few reasons why we don't have links open in a new browser tab or window:

  • I'm not going to force browsing behaviors on my readers. As a web user, I hate it when a website forces me to play by its game. If I want to open a link in a new tab, I'll do it that. I don't want your website telling me how to browse, and I don't want my website telling YOU how to browse.
  • It breaks the "back" button function. For lotsa web users, their browser's back button is a big part of how they navigate the web. When you force a new window open, you spawn a new tab/window with no back-button function. Users forget where tabs and windows came from. It's confusing.
  • It's an accessibility issue. More info here.

If you like your links to open in a new window, here's one of many ways to do it super easily:

Hold down the CTRL key when you click a link.

(It's the command key if you're using a Mac.)

Alternately, you can right-click to open new tabs — there are a lot of ways to open links in new tabs, all of which are each and quick, and all of which give you complete control over your browsing experience, without enforcing it on everyone else.