[Mediawiki-l] How to make external links open a new window?

Frank Wales frank at limov.com
Wed Feb 9 14:28:25 UTC 2005

On Wed, 2005-02-09 at 18:36 +0900, D_C wrote:
> > Have you ever asked what the users think about such sites?
> The system should give flexibility to the designer as much as the
> user. 

No, it shouldn't. In matters of user interface policy, the system
should tie the designer's hands as much as possible, so that 
users have some chance of predicting, and controlling, what 
happens next on their computers.

> He probably knows more about his site's req's than you do. 

The web is filled with poor user interfaces by designers
who thought they knew better than their users.  Unless there
is a really, really good reason to do otherwise, common
user interface actions like "clicking on a hyperlink" ought
to offer to me, an end-user, the usual range of choices and
behaviours. That way, *I* get to decide to open it in the
same window, another window, a tab, save it to a file,
my scrapbook, or whatever.

Unless this choice by me fundamentally interferes with the 
purpose of the web site, it is arrogant presumption by the 
web designer to deny it to me.

> if the designer chooses to make an art-piece and ignore the users, he
> should be able to.

What would an 'art-piece wiki' even mean?  Something that
encourages user input and participation while simultaneously
ignoring it?  Eh?

> For example this guy might be doing a bank intranet site where he
> needs to make really clear what is an external resource.

He might be, but the question he asked suggests that it's just
a personal preference being embedded into a design:

>> My convention for sites I do is to make links that go off-site open a
>> new window. Is there a simple way to do this? If not a simple way,

Apparently, one designer has decided that how he likes to
do things is how everyone must do them; this is poor web design,
and I would be disappointed if mediawiki encouraged it.

> The implication here is that mediawiki makes it difficult for a
> designer to pre-determine link functionality.

Mediawiki ought to make it hard to shove user interface 
policy changes down users' throats; this is A Good Thing,
especially if it forces web designers to think more about
how their decisions can frustrate and confuse their users.
Frank Wales [frank at limov.com]

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