Make WordPress Core

Opened 8 months ago

Closed 8 months ago

Last modified 2 months ago

#41337 closed feature request (wontfix)

Links in dashboard WordPress Events should open in new tab/window by default

Reported by: milleronic Owned by:
Milestone: Priority: normal
Severity: normal Version: 4.8
Component: Administration Keywords: target-blank close
Focuses: ui, accessibility Cc:


Links in dashboard widgets should not take users away from their site. Open external links in new tab/window.

Change History (8)

#1 @afercia
8 months ago

  • Component changed from General to Widgets
  • Focuses ui accessibility added
  • Keywords target-blank added

There is an ongoing discussion about target="_blank", see https://core.trac.wordpress.org/query?keywords=~target-blank. Ideally, users should be able to decide how they want to open a link. Browsers have tabbed navigation since years and years. What target="_blank" actually does is take control of the browser away from users.

In very limited, specific, cases, for example to avoid data loss, it might make sense to use target="_blank". However, users should always be informed the link is going to open in a new tab (or window, depending on browser settings). See for example the Meetups | WordCamps | News in the footer of the Events widget.

Adding target="_blank" to all the external links will not only take control of users browser, but also add a significant amount of additional visual and audio noise on the page. That's the reason why WordPress is aiming to avoid as much as possible the usage of target="_blank" and just let users decide how they want to navigate.

#2 @milleronic
8 months ago

@afercia while I respect your reasoning, I think it's flawed in this case. "Taking control of the browser" is what hyperlinks DO. Taking users away from their site is taking control as much as opening an external link in a new tab. "Noise" in the form of an icon and aria attribute is communication as to the link's intent, which is beneficial. Currently the UX in the dashboard WordPress Events and News widget is inconsistent, as the links in the bottom contain the new tab icons and the target="_blank" attribute, while the links in the "upcoming events" and "news" sections do not. I don't see the logic in that decision.
Thanks for hearing me out.

#3 follow-up: @knutsp
8 months ago

  • Component changed from Widgets to Administration
  • Keywords close added

@milleronic While I respect your reasoning, and you are not alone on this, and it is nearly a 20 year old discussion, I beg to differ completely. Because ...

Taking users away from their site is taking control as much as opening an external link in a new tab.

No, it isn't. When there is no target="_blank", I, the user, decide how the link should open in my browser, tab, window or self. When target="_blank"is present, on the other hand, some page author has already decided for me, and practically forces me. No way to get around it without injecting a script to manipulate the DOM on load.

Taking users away from their site ...

That is what external links do no matter if a new tab is opened, because the new tab is usually focused, if not set (in browser) to open in the background. If you unintentionally leave a page (internal or external link) you can always go back. Closing a tab, on the other hand doesn't always focus the previous tab. It depends on browser settings.

If I want to leave the dashboard for a moment to visit another site linked, I just click or in another way activate/enter the link. If not, I either do not click/activate the link, or I hold a modifier key, or command by browsing tool, to demand a new tab or window.

The only situation when target="_blank" helps the user is on form pages without autosave or "dirty detection" / AYS dialog, or other applications with a user initiated state. It then prevents unintentional data loss, or other loss of such established state.

Remember also, that not all users use a visual browser. This fact doesn't necessarily favor my view, or your view, but it surely makes me want to listen to experienced people on web accessibility. Forcing a new tab/window mean there should to be a warning or some informational element indicating this, along with the link itself.

Web authoring should focus on helping the user to keep control, not trying to frame them in any way ... "not to leave the site" Especially, when it's their own site, they will surely have no trouble getting back no matter far they go surfing away from it.

#4 in reply to: ↑ 3 @milleronic
8 months ago

@knutsp I see your points, but I do not necessarily agree. I can agree to disagree on this. One thing remains in this discussion, however: the inconsistency of the way the links are treated in the widget. Some with the target="_blank" attribute, some not.
Thanks again for your time and the discussion.

#5 @knutsp
8 months ago

  • Resolution set to wontfix
  • Status changed from new to closed

I can agree on removing inconsistencies in this respect.

I close this ticket for now, because discussion can either continue on this ticket or the related tickets (better).

Please, just reopen it, if you still think this specific ticket needs further consideration, given the comments from @afercia and me.

#6 @afercia
8 months ago

I agree on the inconsistency :) That was something provided in the design and there was no great consensus about it.

#7 @netweb
8 months ago

  • Milestone Awaiting Review deleted

#8 @swissspidy
2 months ago

#43065 was marked as a duplicate.

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