Some say you should never launch a link in a new window for a couple of reasons:
- The user can always launch in a new window by choice by holding CTRL when they click the link or by middle-clicking the link with the mouse wheel.
- By contrast, there is no easy way to make a link coded to launch in a new window launch in the same window. So, you are essentially taking the choice away from the visitor.
I'm not sure I agree with that. For one thing, many users don't know how to launch in a new window. Also, in many cases, a user may want to check out something you are linking to without leaving your site. I like the following rule of thumb, which seems to be the consensus from what I have read:
- Make internal links (links to stuff on your site) open in the same window.
- Make external links (links to other sites) open in a different window.
There are some exceptions to the first point. For example, if you are displaying a short form or a Flash piece or something and you want better control over the window like size or toolbar/no toolbar, etc. But for the most part I would think these rules would work.
I'd be curious if anyone agrees/disagrees either from a designer standpoint or from a user's standpoint. Let me know...