Mobile browsers are a bit pickier – select your target for links.

Some sites take care of this by creating a default target for your links. Depending on your system: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, straight HTML – your EDITOR may automatically put in a target for any link you make within your content. BUT, it may not. By default in most desktop browsers, it will open in the same window as the one with the link. If you link off-site, you’ve been taught to create a target of “_blank” to open a fresh window so you don’t lose traffic if people head down that linking rabbit hole.

framesBUT, with the conversion of all sites to mobile, those assumptions no longer hold true. You may notice a regular question, “Do you want to open a new window? A new Tab? or copy the link?” This is because whomever created that link left the target to chance.  Targets really were popular when sites were built in FRAMES (around the late 90s) – a framework of pieces bringing in several pages into one page – nav stayed in the left and the right and possibly the top scrolled, depending on how your FRAMES were structured.

When you create a link to your own content, you want people to flow through your site without opening new windows of confusion. Before, if you failed to state the TARGET (going back to frames time), the linked page would simply replace what was open. If it were in a FRAME (old school and not in a good way), it would open within THAT frame replacing the content. If your link was in the TOP frame – it would replace the content in THAT frame unless you told it a target of “top”, “parent” or another FRAME such as “mainBody” or something. “_self” replaces the open window.

With PHP, templates and more current programming, we have a wrapper instead with a header, usually a footer and the main content that can vary in columns and structure. The WRAPPER ensures consistency in the placement of your elements you want on every page such as your logo, your navigation and in the footer – copyright, subscription and incidental links or something like that.

No matter where you link to your contact form, you’d want a target of _self so that you flow from THAT page you are on  – whatever it is, to the contact page. You don’t want a pop-up asking, “do you want to open a new window?” – just GO to the doggone link! 

Test your website on mobile – test your “wrapper” links to make sure that question doesn’t pop-up. Test your blog posts that link to content within your own site – does it ask the question or just go there.

Exceptions: PDF files – you will want to handle links to other “viewers” or applications differently. Test how it works for you. Is it confusing or annoying? If so, make a change.