Mistake #9

In Top Ten Mistakes of Web Design Jacob Nielsen mentions Opening New Browser Windows. It’s mistake number 9. In my eyes it would have to be number One. Or number Two if Nielsen would have mentioned Zombie Links, links that lead to the same page that is already displayed. They are in fact The Mistake number One. But for some strange reason Nielsen is ignoring them already for 12 years.

To explain what is so evil about New Browser Windows, Nielsen says:

“Opening up new browser windows is like a vacuum cleaner sales person who starts a visit by emptying an ash tray on the customer’s carpet.”

Terrible sales people, who come without invitation and difficult to get rid of; New Browser Windows are terrible in the same way. And now think about Zombie Links, they are like the same Vacuum Cleaner Sales Person appearing every time you open a door or a window or a closet.

When will Nielsen finally pillory them?

5 Responses to “Mistake #9”

  1. Tracky Says:

    i don’t get whats so bad about new browser windows. if you’re tab-surfing youre used to quickly hit the ‘close window’ shortcut, which is the same for tabs and windows… i dont even know what my browser’s back button looks like!

  2. olia Says:

    Because, Tracky, you are a victim of bad web designers. Imagine a world without new windows. You wouldn’t even know what your ‘close window’ shortcut looks like.

    Besides that New Windows are loaded with complexes and fears of designers who don’t know how else to make users stay on their website.

  3. Jon Says:

    Even worse is resizing/moving a window. Fixed width designs are bad but forcing people to use your viewport sizeā€¦ GRRR

  4. Tracky Says:

    I agree that stuff like this can be annoying, but I’m careful banning them as taboos. I strongly believe that there’s always a case where certain functions fit just right. And as we know, sketchy navigation and nervewrecking interfaces just keep you internet-healthy (another great analogy coming up!). If you’re only in contact with clean design and flawless functions you’ll one day become allergic to the slightest glitches! I like zombie links like the YouTube logo, cause they’re self-referencial. And they show you who’s in charge and how stupid you are clicking them…

  5. Tracky Says:

    and much worse are emails or text messages just saying “ok”!

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