As part of our effort to make the world a better place, one pixel at a time, we’re starting a new blog series showing the small touches we use at Highforge to make the websites we build stand out above the rest. You usually don’t notice them, unless they’re missing. They improve a user’s experience with a site, and can drastically affect how a potential customer sees your company. These are The Little Things.
Outside of paragraph tags, the most common element you’ll find online is the anchor tag (<a>). For those that don’t speak Web Developer (we won’t judge), you’ll know <a> tags as “links”.
Links are a big part of what makes the web different from print publications. As such, they need – and deserve – particular attention in the development process. Amazingly, this doesn’t happen as often as it should. But not at Highforge.
It Opens Where?
When you click a link, you expect it to take you somewhere or do something. What you don’t necessarily want to happen is to be taken away from the page you’re already on. While savvy users already know that holding CTRL (or CMD on a Mac) will open a link in a new tab, not every user of the Internets knows this. Shocking, I know. That’s why we make sure all outside links, and even certain internal links, open in a new browser tab or window.
Accomplishing this is simple. Just add target=”_blank” to your <a> tag. This will open the link in a new browser tab. If the browser does not support tabs, the link will open in a new window.
Why Does It Matter?
There are a few different reasons to open links in a new window, but the most important is keeping clients on your site. Your business depends on users staying on the site and either filling out the contact form or purchasing a product. If they get sent away, they may never come back. Nobody wants that.
Any outside link opening in the same tab/window takes the user away from your site. That’s the opposite of our goal.
Sales goals aside, how annoying is it that when you click a link you didn’t mean to, and now you have to hit the back button? You lose your place on the page, and have to spend time you don’t have finding where you were. Even worse, if you’re on a phone, you incur extra data usage and have to wait for the page to reload. If you’re getting a poor signal, you’re just as likely to chuck your device across the room.
That’s why we make sure that even certain internal links open in new windows. It makes switching between pages on your devices that much easier.
The user experience is incredibly important to us at Highforge, and it starts with the little things.
To make sure your website is doing all the little things right, contact us today!