Suggestion for Website

November 16, 2011 at 04:18 PM · I've noticed when I click on a link in the discussion section of that I'm taken away from the domain. Some links take one to other pages of but the effect is still the same as far as removing one from the originating page.

Was just thinking that it would be nice when clicking on a hyperlink if a new window or tab were created instead of being taken away from the page I was on previously.

Replies (44)

November 16, 2011 at 03:07 PM · For example:

This hyperlink will take one away from as is the default setting at this time.

Note that this hyperlink will create a new tab or window depending on your browser setting while allowing you to stay on the original web page.

Just a friendly suggestion. Sometimes it's difficult to get back to the page I was on especially if the link is a Youtube video wherein I am compelled to listen to several nice violin or other musical pieces.

November 16, 2011 at 03:11 PM · I tried to put all of the information into one post but it kept timing out when I clicked the Submit Message button below. Not sure why that happens, but it's been the case on several occasions.

November 16, 2011 at 04:21 PM · We've avoided doing that for many years because then clicking on a link spawns a new window, and your back button doesn't work. It is intentional. You can spawn a new window though: If you right-click, you can choose to open a hyperlink in a new window.

If we force it to spawn new windows, you don't have the option, it will just always spawn more windows.

If people really want that, we can consider doing it. I'd be curious about what everyone thinks about it!

November 16, 2011 at 04:30 PM · If I'm reading a long thread and someone posts an external link, it's sometimes a hassle trying to get back to that original thread. Would just save time and energy if a new window were opened for the external links.

There wouldn't be the need to use the back button since the original page would still be open in the previous browser tab.

I am also curious as to others' thoughts on this and if they've even considered the idea or noticed their being taken away from

November 16, 2011 at 05:01 PM · Hadn't thought of this before. I just use the BACK button, and I'm right back on the previous page, usually right at the same page position I had before. No hassles here.

It would take a second or two longer, maybe, if you're following a series of links, but then you just hit the BACK button multiple times. Of course, with dial-up connections, the process would take longer; but here in the USA, dial-up is disappearing -- with high-speed Internet now being so popular and widely available. Not sure about overseas.

I vote to leave the system as is. The right-click option is a good tool; I still use it fairly often on other sites.

November 16, 2011 at 05:01 PM · I think opening hyperlinks in the same window is convenient for people on both sides.

Those don't like new windows are satisfied, and people who want a new window or tab can get them by right clicking on the link.

November 16, 2011 at 05:21 PM · Try Shift Click to open new window. After you are finished you can close that and be back where you started.

November 16, 2011 at 06:17 PM · Also, clicking on a link with the mouse wheel will open it in a new tab (if you are using Firefox or Internet Explorer 7 or newer) regardless of how the link is set.

November 16, 2011 at 09:17 PM · I agree with Laurie.

She is correct. It is good "nettiquette" too.

I know how to use Firefox. When I want to make a new window (say to listen to a linked video while continuing to skim the headers), I right-click.

November 16, 2011 at 09:33 PM · Current best pratice for web designers is that any links automatically open in a new window (and the html coding should make the new window approx. half-size, to remind the user that is is a "child" window.)

Current best practise for users is to either shift-click or right-click on a link (depending on your browser). Then you "know" where you are :)

Having said that, I'd say Laurie should stick with the current setup for the time being.

November 16, 2011 at 09:55 PM · who decides "best practice?"

lots of new windows can be really annoying. Laurie's approach is more flexible.

November 17, 2011 at 01:56 AM · Jim

What's your evidence for "current best practice"?

I've been working with web usability since the early days and try to keep up to date, and to the best of my knowledge Laurie's approach is much the most preferred by users. Particularly now that most browsers are tabbed spawning windows all over the place is just confusing, I feel.

All my tests, and the tests of thousands of others suggest that a primary rule is "don't break the back button".

As others have pointed out, if a power user has other preferences, they can use key combinations to launch new windows.

Laurie - this is a lovely site - no need to tinker with the usability. My only gripes are - the lack of an email notification option in the discussion threads (it's too easy to lose track of replies if a thread falls off the front page) and the very basic archive navigation in the blogs - there is priceless material there that's hard to find... I appreciate that these may be non-trivial to fix, but there's no harm in asking??

November 17, 2011 at 02:20 AM · Most browsers use tabs these days so there shouldn't be multiple windows on your desktop unless you fail to properly setup your web browser. When a link is clicked it creates a new tab in the one browser window that's currently open.

When I click on a link a new tab opens in the background and doesn't take focus away from the tab currently being viewed. It's far more convenient than using the back button. At least for me.

I can override the linking issue and open all hyperlinks in new tabs. Just thought others might find this more convenient as I prefer to remain on a website when viewing links from that site that are outside of its domain.

November 17, 2011 at 05:19 AM · How about having the link open in an iframe, with a link on the frame to jump back to the page it launched from?

November 17, 2011 at 05:53 AM · Frames are so 1997.

November 17, 2011 at 08:29 AM · "who decides "best practice?"

Good question. For a designer, it would be to get the user from source to destination with the minimum of clicks, and an easy route back to the source. An example would be a main page, then clicking on a link or a button opens up in a new smaller window, on top of the main one. User now knows exactly what's going on. If it's not coded that way, then can you get situation where, like on, once you click the "respond" button, you are then taken away from the post you were reading, and now trying to reply to text you can no longer see. Yes, you could open the same thread twice (view post and response window together), but that's more clicking, more time. See what I mean?

You could use "back" buttons, but they often don't work properly on some browsers. Another reason : the back button can be a security risk on a secure web page, and the HTML might be generic for secure and non-secure pages.

I'm used to using shortcuts and workarounds on sites in general, so I don't mind.

As Geoff said, email notification would be good.

If you know what you're looking for in terms of using keyword and phrases to search archives, often Google will return the URL of the link for you.

Last thing : big thanks to Laurie for providing such a great resource :)

November 17, 2011 at 09:54 AM · I never even noticed that it doesn't open a new window because I usually right-click and select "open new window" if that's what I want. I personally like the way it is because I also use the back button sometimes.

November 17, 2011 at 01:49 PM · Jim Hastings

Posted on November 16, 2011 at 05:01 PM

Hadn't thought of this before. I just use the BACK button, and I'm right back on the previous page, usually right at the same page position I had before. No hassles here.

I agree.

November 17, 2011 at 02:33 PM · Cool Previews added onto Firefox works well.

November 17, 2011 at 02:36 PM · I like it as is pretty much-I have the option to create new tabs but I don't want a lot of new windows. (I usually tab open all the threads I'm interested in at once, and close them as I finish with them.

The ONE exception would be the response links. Anybody with me? I would LOVE to have the response box open in a new, smaller window so I can still see and refer to the thread as I'm writing. Separate tabs are ok but still require clicking back and forth. And if I just direct click, then I not only lose track of what I'm typing about, but once I submit then it's about 5 backtracks through the response software to get to where I just was.

That wouldn't be too hard to change, would it?

November 17, 2011 at 03:48 PM · "The ONE exception would be the response links. … I would LOVE to have the response box open in a new, smaller window so I can still see and refer to the thread as I'm writing."

There's an easy way around this problem. I write responses and original posts in MS Word or the Notepad accessory in Windows. That way, I can switch back and forth between the two windows. Once I feel ready with the content and have run spell-check, I copy and paste the material to the text box and submit it.

November 17, 2011 at 03:50 PM · What Jim does is actually the most prudent for any web text window. I have lost posts before. And one online school application made the point of SAYING IN CAPS that you do this--apparently too many people had lost all they wrote in the past.

November 17, 2011 at 04:32 PM · More on the response box -- maybe not quite on topic, but here goes:

What about limiting the size of discussion posts and responses to about 2,000 characters -- counting spaces and punctuation? That's nearly one page in MS Word, 6-inch line, Courier New-12 -- more than enough space to make a point.

Ideally, I strive to wrap up at about half this length -- keeping the audience in mind. If we all had to think through our material more carefully to fit a tighter space, this would keep out the long, rambling dissertations -- the Net equivalent of Aunt Minnie and Uncle Joe's Bedtime Stories.

Now, if only there were some magic way for the system to break up long paragraphs -- argh!

November 17, 2011 at 05:21 PM · I simply refuse to read the rambles. Just as easy, and sometimes, there really is a good reason for a long one. And since there is a 100 post limit, limiting response length will chew up more of the available posts. Just thinking about it.

November 17, 2011 at 07:46 PM · Yes, I've sometimes lost my responses when trying to go back and double-check on something. What I do now is hit the "submit message" button to make sure I get my preliminary thought out there. Then I check on whatever I wish to, and if I want to ammend my response, I just click on "edit".

I'm not in favor of limiting the word or character count of any particular response.

November 17, 2011 at 10:10 PM · "I simply refuse to read the rambles."

I skip a lot of rambles, too, even if the first paragraph hints at worthwhile subject matter. Many a long post, with a little re-thinking and re-working by the author -- not to mention breaking up the long paragraphs -- can get an audience to actually read it instead of skipping it.

"And since there is a 100 post limit, limiting response length will chew up more of the available posts."

Could you explain "chew up more of the available posts"? Are you thinking that the author might get to the limit, then add "To Be Continued," and just tack on sequel posts with whatever didn't fit in the first one?

If so, I can think of one good pre-emptive strike: Limit each author to one post submission within 5 minutes. Not a cure-all; but this and a reasonable message-size limit could force some writers to think through their messages more carefully -- instead of just spilling out whatever comes to mind at the moment. I think a lot of 100-post threads have lost much of their value anyway by 50 replies or so.

November 17, 2011 at 10:28 PM · I personally agree with Tony; it should open a new tab. But, frankly it's not that big a deal. If it ain't broke ....

November 17, 2011 at 10:50 PM · Actually, after the most recent change to allow replies from mobile devices like iPhones and Androids, I miss the ease of inserting hyperlinks. I've noticed a lot more links are just cut and pasted into the threads now, so you cannot click them. Not everyone is computer savvy so now it is a real hassle to insert hyperlinks, so many people just don't do it.

November 17, 2011 at 11:53 PM · I too miss the easy hyper-link insertion; also italics & whatnot. But not desperately. They were fun, not vital.

As for new tab/new window: on Firefox (and I'm pretty sure for Internet Explorer too) you can hold down the Control key while you left-click and it automatically opens a new tab. Or, as others have said, you can right-click and choose "open in new tab" or "open in new window."

November 18, 2011 at 12:34 AM · Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! Keep them coming; can't promise anything, but the more we know about what you want, the more we can aim to please. We are more concerned about long-term usability than ramping up fake numbers (sometimes the spawning windows are really just a way to increase time on the site.) Today when I was shutting down my computer, I think I closed about 10 windows, it was crazy! But we are willing to listen to all arguments.

November 18, 2011 at 02:32 AM · Bruce

"I too miss the easy hyper-link insertion; also italics & whatnot."

As a lazy person, the way I handle this is to use a keyboard macro utility - you can set it up with html tags, or any other text you use frequently, and trigger it with a key combination. There are pretty decent free options, though I have invested in the wonderful MacroExpress.

As for putting the response form in a new window, in my experience this will simply confuse people with poor browsing skills. As discussed above, anyone who prefers to keep the thread open for reference can use a keyboard combination to open the form on a new tab, or even easier, right click on the thread tab and duplicate the tab before opening the form.

November 18, 2011 at 10:12 AM · And Laurie

A bug seems to have crept into the new response form - if you edit a post with an image tag, the tag comes up munged and you have to re-do it from scratch...

November 18, 2011 at 01:20 PM · Geoff,

As for a keyboard macro utility, most people don't know what that is, much less know how to use one.

Try using an iPhone or Android to copy and paste a URL from someone's post. Unless you have too much spare time on your hands, it just isn't going to happen. So, now that very few people are making their links clickable, I no longer click on them. In that respect, we are missing out on the points that those people are trying to make.

November 19, 2011 at 12:22 AM · Laurie

That bug also extends to links - they are mangled if you edit your post...

November 19, 2011 at 04:42 AM · It is the "escape" problem...yes? Not a bug but a feature?

November 20, 2011 at 07:22 AM · I have noticed this issue since around August: if one edits one's personal profile, the last "Another professional orchestra" field in the form will be filled with one's user name automatically. So if one doesn't realize and clear it, once the account is updated, the user name shows up as an orchestra in one's profile.

November 20, 2011 at 09:28 AM · “If so, I can think of one good pre-emptive strike: Limit each author to one post submission within 5 minutes. Not a cure-all; but this and a reasonable message-size limit could force some writers to think through their messages more carefully -- instead of just spilling out whatever comes to mind at the moment. I think a lot of 100-post threads have lost much of their value anyway by 50 replies or so.”

Jim, I agree over many of your points but I used to be on a forum which had a three minute wait between posts and everyone thought it a real bind.

And some threads stay interesting up until the 100 posts mark! (Not all I grant you). Sorry to disagree a bit!!

November 20, 2011 at 12:35 PM · "If so, I can think of one good pre-emptive strike: Limit each author to one post submission within 5 minutes."

i don't like that; it resolves a non existent problem and will create an actual problem, in my opinion.

i second or third or fourth the idea of being able to see the discussion thread while posting a reply without opening in another window,then opening up the thread again in parallel. in my opinion, it would be great if you could read the discussion above, with a reply box trailing below. otherwise, i think the format is just great and a big thank you to laurie for giving us the opportunity to link with each other.

if i have a request, it would be that more articles be written by buri and all the great teachers here, if its something they have time and energyfor of course, and perhaps we could have a section where the experts here could review new CDs or theiir favourite old CDs, like a vintage zone...just an idea.

November 20, 2011 at 03:43 PM · I think the site is fine, no changes needed. The only thing that bothers me is the thread hijacking and off topic back and forth conversations some like to have on threads others have started, but there is not a lot to be done about people insisting on being rude, other than ignore them. It's just a little frustrating to find a great thread and partway through realize it has been turned into something else by the self absorbed.

Oh, wait, maybe a special category, "Ask Buri" (love his posts, as I believe everyone does, and I am only half kidding about giving him his own category).

November 20, 2011 at 03:51 PM · @Rebbeca: That's the nature of the internet and forums and discussion boards. They will eventually become tangential since they mimic a conversation in the real world.

Just skip over what you feel is not relevant to a specific thread and you'll be just fine.

By the way, has anyone had a chance to get out and go hunting since deer season opened on the 19th? :-))

November 21, 2011 at 08:37 AM · And Laurie

There's also an old bug where your title gets mangled if you put quotation marks in it - I forgot about it and I've just run into it again!

November 22, 2011 at 10:38 AM · Another bug - with many older blogs you get a ColdFusion file missing error when you click on the replies link. You'll find an example here. It would be great to get this fixed, especially for classic blogs such as Drew's, Buri's etc

November 22, 2011 at 05:24 PM · Rebecca: no need for an "Ask Buri" category, since the answer to everything is "prunes."


November 23, 2011 at 05:00 PM · After mulling over my suggestion to limit each author to 1 post within 5 minutes, and mulling over the responses to this idea, I've decided to back off.

What gave me the idea was a now-deleted thread -- the one on orchestra players showing off by practicing concertos and cadenzas during rehearsal breaks. The thread went to 100 replies. Toward the end, a poster started gaming the system by uploading a rapid-fire chain of responses with nothing more than the symbols […] in each reply.

Evidently, the poster was trying to push the thread to 100 fast and get it retired and so prevent anyone else from having the last word. I had a few points I wanted to add to the discussion, but it was too late -- no room left -- because of this. I blew the whistle. To my knowledge, the problem hasn't recurred.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

But I stand by my suggestion to limit each entry to 2,000 characters. Whether or not this happens, could everyone please remember, with the plain-text message box, to hit the RETURN/ENTER key twice between paragraphs? Even a long post becomes easier to digest when there's a little white space to break it up.

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