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August 13, 2003


Swami Prem

Yes! What if we never come back? Wouldn't that be a shame? It is so easy for people to be taken away from a site, or to get sidetracked.


hi crawfrod,

Sometimes I prefer to open the link in a new window so that the reader doesn't get totally sidetracked.
I think footnotes also work well.

Crawford Kilian

A few years ago, content developers were worrying about "stickiness"—what would keep visitors on the site? That's still an issue, and easy links to other sites can send visitors off into the electronic labyrinth.

I see another problem: print text is good for reasonably long, cumulative arguments—like the one I tried to make in the gun-culture article. On Websites, impatient readers still tend to want a screenful of text, max. "Don't make me scroll!"

Ideally, I guess you'd offer versions for every taste: a long scrolling text, a printer-friendly version, a "chunked" version broken into free-standing screenfuls...and streaming video as well. Oh, plus translated versions of everything.

Reasonably sophisticated Web users (including a lot of bloggers) should be able to jump through a link, bookmark the site, and jump back.

But you can't cater only to the sophisticated. If you try, you'll confuse and annoy the newbies...who will be sophisticated soon enough, and eager to avoid your site.


Well, you could use Javascript to convert your links to open in new pages. The code is simple, and it keeps your page available.

Part of the difficulty in writing well for the web is that a lot of the tricks writers would want to take advantage of require something beyond simple HTML code, and so they are beyond many writers' skill level.

Tools like MT help, but there is not a really intuituve way that I have seen to translate what writers would want into reality.


JavaScript can help you manage the window you're opening with the link, but regular HTML can get you a link in a new window.

When you create the link, inside the a tag, use a target attribute, like target="new_win" and, so long as there's no window open that's called "new_win", your link will open in a new window.

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