Open help link in same window
Currently, if one clicks on "help" in the top nav bar, an overlay pops up with our two options -- "send us a message" or "visit our help page." When one clicks on the latter link, it opens in a new window. I am generally against using new windows for any links, but we especially should not use them on our own site, as it leads to our site being open in two different tabs/windows. If users want to open the link in a new window, they can choose to do so in a right-click browser-specific contextual menu
#1 Updated by Samantha Raddatz about 5 years ago
Though I generally agree with the let-the-user-control-new-windows rule, I do think there may be an exception here: if a user is looking for help on something they're working on (say they're in the middle of a process on Wordpress) clicking on the help option without thinking about whether or not they're opening a new window could take them away from it. This is also noted in the "every rule has an exception" section of this Smashing Magazine post:http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/07/01/should-links-open-in-new-windows/
There's no strict rule about this of course, but I wanted to provide the counter-argument.
#2 Updated by Matt Gold about 5 years ago
Thanks, Sam. I see the point about interrupting an ongoing process, but I think that WP preserves content in text boxes when the back arrow is hit. Can you please test the following conditions:
-- user is writing a forum post, leaves page mid-stream and clicks back button --> is text preserved when the user revisits the page?
-- user is writing a blog post on a blog dashboard, leaves page midstream and clicks back button --> is text preserved when the user revisits the page?
I'm already strongly on the side of not opening the link in the new window, but I'd say that if the above tests show that text is preserved, we should definitely do it unless there is an extremely compelling use case where text could be lost
#3 Updated by Boone Gorges about 5 years ago
- Target version set to 1.8.4
I'm generally with Matt on this one, but I can see the case for having a new window in this case. Whatever everyone wants is fine with me.
I think that WP preserves content in text boxes when the back arrow is hit.
It's your browser doing this, not WP. If it's more reliable in WP/BP than in other web apps, it's because we use proper web standards and not too much fancy JS.
#4 Updated by Samantha Raddatz about 5 years ago
The main reason we added the help pop-up to the top-navigation bar was so that it could be seen throughout the Commons, even while making changes to WordPress sites, which was a specific request from one of the users in the last round of testing. Since the use case that this came up in was WordPress based, I took a look at a WP install I have for another site and the WP-provided help links there open into new windows -- not sure if that's a preference from that team or based on research.
If we want to make it load in-tab, we could add a 'are you sure you want to leave this page?' pop-up to reduce the likelihood of someone losing their spot. But that might be more annoying than losing their place or progress...
Since this is coming down to personal preference and assumed use cases, we can always pick either direction now and I can include a quick question about it in the next testing this summer to see what the users think.
#5 Updated by Matt Gold about 5 years ago
Thanks, Sam. I'm going to make an executive decision here and say we should remove the new window setting. Let's definitely test over the summer, as you suggest, and also keep an eye out for complaints about losing one's place, etc.
Thanks to you both for your discussion of this.