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Re: Why authors are using Transitional (and target="_blank")

From: Steve Axthelm <steveax@pobox.com>
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2008 17:08:49 -0800
To: "Michael A. Puls II" <shadow2531@gmail.com>, HTMLWG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <r239ps-10411i-53A56715D568441DB8FB8E1A3942B8B0@MBP.local>

On 2008-02-22 Michael A. Puls II <shadow2531@gmail.com> wrote:

>1. Make target="_blank" conforming and explain what it's supposed to do.
>
>2. Give some informative advice for when it should be used:
>
>For example, opening each help link in a new window/tab so the user
>isn't navigated away from the current page because navigating away and
>going back in history is destructive to the session, would be O.K.
>
>3. Give some informative advice for when it should not be used:
>
>For example, if navigating away from the current page is not
>destructive to the session, then don't use target="_blank". Let users
>decide whether they want to open in a new tab/window.
>
>Of course, choose the wording however you like.
>
>Then, if a site opens links in a new tab/window when you don't
>consider there being and good reason, you just take it up with the
>site.
>
>That really seems like the only way to go.

I agree that target="_blank" should be conforming and think this 
describes well the best compromise. I would also echo Jake 
Liddell's comments[1] about the concerns (sometimes warranted, 
sometimes not) of business owners about users being diverted 
from a conversion path.

target="_blank" is currently used in ways that are hostile to 
users and that will undoubtedly continue regardless if it's 
compliant or not. Educating authors on the the issues of opening 
new windows will help but never completely solve the issue. 
There are many thoughtful authors who would love to always do 
the right thing but get overruled by someone who is less 
concerned about the usability & accessibility issues when it 
comes to application behavior. In those cases, what is an author 
to do? As Jake noted, they will deliver what the client asked 
for by the best method they have. Thoughtful authors will use 
target="_blank" only when they must and they are they only ones 
who will care about compliance anyway.

Regards,

-S

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2008Feb/0330.html
Received on Sunday, 24 February 2008 01:08:59 UTC

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