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Re: [NH] Use Of target="_blank"

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  • Scott Fordin
    FWIW, I think that, in most cases, you don t want to open links in new windows for many of the reasons already mentioned here. For example, I know the style
    Message 1 of 29 , Mar 27, 2011
      FWIW, I think that, in most cases, you don't want to open links in new
      windows for many of the reasons already mentioned here. For example, I
      know the style guidelines for all external Sun Microsystems (let's take
      a moment here to shed a tear) Web sites specifically prohibited spawning
      new windows except in relatively rare circumstances.

      There are times, however, when it's appropriate to spawn new windows
      when you want to provide additional information about a topic or product
      without losing the initial context. Examples here include, say, an
      online help system, or individual photos in a gallery, or a page that
      compares a series of products, or a link to a PDF coupon, or a link that
      takes you to another Web site in an entirely different domain.

      All this said, I think it's much, much better to use a specifically
      named target window rather than _blank, so you're at least not rudely
      spawning a gazillion windows, and it also becomes possible to create a
      history trail in the spawned window. In short, I think _blank is evil,
      but specifically named targets can be quite useful.

      Finally, you could also use some sort of hover-based pop-up for certain
      kinds of content, but that can lead to all sorts of browser, platform,
      and accessibility issues. For example, hover-based pop-ups are not so
      great on mobile phones, and they're really bad if your users rely on
      screen reading add-ons.

      Scott

      On 3/27/2011 1:01 AM, loro wrote:
      > Ray wrote:
      > >Can SSI and a modification of the script at
      > >http://fdp.berger-odenthal.de/base/fix-menue.js keep the nav bar in view
      > >when the user scrolls down the page?
      >
      > Includes don't do anything more than glue the content of files
      > together before the page is served, like a server-side Find &
      > Replace, you could say, only it isn't permanent, the physical files
      > aren't changed.
      >
      > I think you are looking for 'position: fixed' (that isn't supported
      > by older versions of IE, but there are workarounds).
      > http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS2/visuren.html#propdef-position
      >
      > Lotta
      >
      >
    • loro
      ... Ah, but only if that s what you want. What if the user actually likes to open new windows and what if he also likes to save windows with pages he might
      Message 2 of 29 , Mar 27, 2011
        Scott wrote:
        >All this said, I think it's much, much better to use a specifically
        >named target window rather than _blank, so you're at least not rudely
        >spawning a gazillion windows, and it also becomes possible to create a
        >history trail in the spawned window. In short, I think _blank is evil,
        >but specifically named targets can be quite useful.

        Ah, but only if that's what you want. What if the user actually likes
        to open new windows and what if he also likes to save windows with
        pages he might want to peruse later, so he minimizes them or lets
        them lose focus while he goes through the rest of the links (I do
        this a lot myself). When he wants to read that interesting page, lo
        and behold, it has been replaced with a totally different page. Boo-hoo.

        That's what it boils down to. No one knows what anyone else wants or
        prefers in a given situation. So keep the options open.

        I'm not adamant about this. There are situations when I think a
        little JS window fits in and doesn't harm anything, but for navigation - nuh.

        Lotta
      • Axel Berger
        ... Yes absolutely. I know I tend to be of the black and white school with no exceptions, but when used sensibly pop-ups and new windows do have their place.
        Message 3 of 29 , Mar 27, 2011
          Scott Fordin wrote:
          > There are times, however, when it's appropriate to spawn new windows

          Yes absolutely. I know I tend to be of the black and white school with
          no exceptions, but when used sensibly pop-ups and new windows do have
          their place. Just remember how rare these instances are.

          > For example, hover-based pop-ups are not so
          > great on mobile phones, and they're really bad if your users rely on
          > screen reading add-ons.

          And of course for those fed up with noisy disturbing backgrounds all
          browsers offer a setting to turn them off. The result is that for me all
          these hovers have a transparent background and become illegible. Alas
          the number of sensible uses of the hover technique is minuscule compared
          to all the inappropriate backgrounds so I live with it.

          Axel
        • Ray Shapp
          Hi Axel and Scott, I m not sure what you are referring to when you say, hover-based pop-ups . Please look at the NewEgg website . Just
          Message 4 of 29 , Mar 27, 2011
            Hi Axel and Scott,

            I'm not sure what you are referring to when you say, "hover-based pop-ups".
            Please look at the NewEgg website <http://www.newegg.com/>. Just below their
            "Search" window, they have a yellow nav bar containing eleven categories of
            product beginning with, "COMPUTER HARDWARE". When I hover over that button,
            a two-column screen opens containing links for about two dozen
            sub-categories of computer hardware. Is this an example of a "hover-based
            pop-up"?

            Axel, are you saying that the subcategories of hardware on the NewEgg site
            are illegible for you?

            Separate but related question: Do most of these hover-based pop-ups get
            spawned by the operation of JavaScript code?

            Ray Shapp


            On Sun, Mar 27, 2011 at 6:34 PM, Axel Berger <Axel-Berger@...> wrote:

            >
            >
            > Scott Fordin wrote:
            > > There are times, however, when it's appropriate to spawn new windows
            >
            > Yes absolutely. I know I tend to be of the black and white school with
            > no exceptions, but when used sensibly pop-ups and new windows do have
            > their place. Just remember how rare these instances are.
            >
            >
            > > For example, hover-based pop-ups are not so
            > > great on mobile phones, and they're really bad if your users rely on
            > > screen reading add-ons.
            >
            > And of course for those fed up with noisy disturbing backgrounds all
            > browsers offer a setting to turn them off. The result is that for me all
            > these hovers have a transparent background and become illegible. Alas
            > the number of sensible uses of the hover technique is minuscule compared
            > to all the inappropriate backgrounds so I live with it.
            >
            > Axel
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Axel Berger
            ... Yes, exactly. ... I am. Firstly they are not even present and after allowing scripting this is what I see: http://berger-odenthal.de/upload/Clipboard01.png
            Message 5 of 29 , Mar 27, 2011
              Ray Shapp wrote:
              > Is this an example of a "hover-based pop-up"?

              Yes, exactly.
              > Axel, are you saying that the subcategories of hardware
              > on the NewEgg site are illegible for you?

              I am. Firstly they are not even present and after allowing scripting
              this is what I see:

              http://berger-odenthal.de/upload/Clipboard01.png

              > Do most of these hover-based pop-ups get
              > spawned by the operation of JavaScript code?

              Yes. Mostly it seems to be because many authors just don't know how to
              do it in pure CSS. On the other hand this example conforms to a
              useability rule of adding a slight delay. See:
              http://www.useit.com/alertbox/mega-dropdown-menus.html
              under the heading "Speed".

              So here script is good, but they ought to implement pure CSS first and
              have the script, when running, turn that off first and replace it by the
              better version. Never exclude visitors without script.

              By the way my sample design employs the CSS solution in the left menu
              and it shows the problems with that. Try moving down to a certain top
              menu entry from the top, you'll fail. I ought to write a script with
              delay for that, but then we all ought to do many things ...

              Axel
            • Axel Berger
              ... My daughter keeps chiding me about that. It s more than thirty years old and I was younger then than she s now. It happens to be the only photograph of
              Message 6 of 29 , Mar 27, 2011
                Ray Shapp wrote:
                > BTW, Axel, you appear much younger than I had imagined
                > (assuming that is not a very old photo of you).

                My daughter keeps chiding me about that. It's more than thirty years old
                and I was younger then than she's now. It happens to be the only
                photograph
                of myself I ever liked.
                A more current one is this Buddha
                http://berger-odenthal.de/upload/Axel.jpg

                Axel
              • loro
                ... Hover based it may be, but it isn t a popup ( a new window). It s a section of the same page that was previously hidden that is shown when the link is
                Message 7 of 29 , Mar 27, 2011
                  Ray Shapp wrote:
                  >I'm not sure what you are referring to when you say, "hover-based pop-ups".
                  >Please look at the NewEgg website <http://www.newegg.com/>. Just below their
                  >"Search" window, they have a yellow nav bar containing eleven categories of
                  >product beginning with, "COMPUTER HARDWARE". When I hover over that button,
                  >a two-column screen opens containing links for about two dozen
                  >sub-categories of computer hardware. Is this an example of a "hover-based
                  >pop-up"?

                  Hover based it may be, but it isn't a popup ( a new window). It's a
                  section of the same page that was previously hidden that is shown
                  when the link is hovered.

                  Lotta
                • Ray Shapp
                  Quoting Axel: Firstly they are not even present and after allowing scripting this is what I see: http://berger-odenthal.de/upload/Clipboard01.png That s odd!
                  Message 8 of 29 , Mar 28, 2011
                    Quoting Axel:
                    Firstly they are not even present and after allowing scripting
                    this is what I see:

                    http://berger-odenthal.de/upload/Clipboard01.png

                    That's odd! Here is what I see:

                    http://www.classiccars.ws/testing/ScreenShot004.jpg

                    Notice they use a link title as well as hover pop-up. That's probably
                    because some browsers are deliberately set to ignore JavaScript or are
                    unable to do so. I am using Firefox v3.6.16 under Win7 Pro SP1 64-bit.


                    Quoting Lotta:
                    Hover based it may be, but it isn't a popup

                    That makes sense. Otherwise my pop-up blocker would prevent me from seeing
                    the enhanced menu.

                    Ray Shapp



                    On Sun, Mar 27, 2011 at 9:04 PM, Axel Berger <Axel-Berger@...> wrote:

                    >
                    >
                    > Ray Shapp wrote:
                    > > Is this an example of a "hover-based pop-up"?
                    >
                    > Yes, exactly.
                    >
                    > > Axel, are you saying that the subcategories of hardware
                    > > on the NewEgg site are illegible for you?
                    >
                    > I am. Firstly they are not even present and after allowing scripting
                    > this is what I see:
                    >
                    > http://berger-odenthal.de/upload/Clipboard01.png
                    >
                    >
                    > > Do most of these hover-based pop-ups get
                    > > spawned by the operation of JavaScript code?
                    >
                    > Yes. Mostly it seems to be because many authors just don't know how to
                    > do it in pure CSS. On the other hand this example conforms to a
                    > useability rule of adding a slight delay. See:
                    > http://www.useit.com/alertbox/mega-dropdown-menus.html
                    > under the heading "Speed".
                    >
                    > So here script is good, but they ought to implement pure CSS first and
                    > have the script, when running, turn that off first and replace it by the
                    > better version. Never exclude visitors without script.
                    >
                    > By the way my sample design employs the CSS solution in the left menu
                    > and it shows the problems with that. Try moving down to a certain top
                    > menu entry from the top, you'll fail. I ought to write a script with
                    > delay for that, but then we all ought to do many things ...
                    >
                    > Axel
                    >
                    >


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Axel Berger
                    ... Not odd at all, self-inflicted. In Firefox the setting is found in Tools-- Options-- Content-- Colors-- Allow pages...-- No The reason is that now all text
                    Message 9 of 29 , Mar 28, 2011
                      Ray Shapp wrote:
                      > That's odd!

                      Not odd at all, self-inflicted. In Firefox the setting is found in
                      Tools-->Options-->Content-->Colors-->Allow pages...-->No

                      The reason is that now all text on all pages is optimally legible
                      whatever bad contrast and noisy background a misguided designer-artist
                      may have chosen. As Jacob Nielsen keeps saying, people do not browse to
                      pages to admire their beauty but to find things and get things done as
                      quickly and as efficiently as possible. The default background of all
                      elements except <BODY> is transparent and if I forbid changing that,
                      that's what I'll get and hovering in front of other content won't work
                      for text.

                      Your mileage may vary, but whenever I turn colours back on for a page
                      like that one I tend to leave it on for a while and I find that very
                      soon the terrible abominations of taste I'm confronted with make me turn
                      it off very soon again. But be that as it may, it is a fully legal
                      setting that ALL browsers offer right there as a menu switch, so just
                      like script on and off, a minimum font size, and varying window size
                      conscientious designers have to be prepared for it and ensure their
                      designs basic useability. An ugly kludge is fine, it is self inflicted
                      by the visitor after all, but useable it has to be.

                      One possibility would be hover an image, one white pixel with width and
                      height in em, and hover the text in front of that. Contrary to script
                      there is no way, not even employing script, to find out what the
                      vistor's settings are so it's not possible to employ the cludge only
                      when needed. With bad luck your image has exactly the visitor's font
                      colour and will make things even worse.
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