I get asked quite a lot why my links don't open in new windows, and could I please add
target="new" - which is incorrect) to them? The answer to that is no. I have never used
target="_blank" on my site, except when I used popup windows (ewww, I know). And even then I wasn't happy about doing it. Especially now, when I validate to doctypes that don't support the
Ok, I do have my Firefox settings set to ignore
target="_blank", but why should I have to change my settings because of your site? I don't like being told how I'm going to go to a link. I want to choose for myself whether I am going to open a new window, a new tab, a new browser, or reuse the same page. I want links to follow what I've told my browser I want to happen. Usually, I reuse the same page. However, I never ever have more than one browser window open, and that is how I want it to stay, thank you very much. I can't stand cluttered desktops/taskbars where I don't know which window contains what. At least with tabs I can rename them and order them and whatever else (Firefox extensions FTW!1!).
This behaviour stems from the times of IE6 and other non-tabbed browsers, however is still being used today - people don't want visitors leaving their sites, so they force another browser window to open. On my old computer this was a nightmare - it couldn't cope with more than one instance of IE and opening another (by choice or otherwise) resulted in the whole thing crashing. Likewise, my current computer is getting slower and more dodgy every day, and opening an instance of Firefox/IE/anything takes it quite a while (yes, I have defragmented/taken off spyware/viruses/etc. It's just getting old). That's another reason I only have one FF window open, actually, heh. To those people (who don't want visitors leaving their sites) I say this: if your site is worth visiting, people will go back to it. You don't have to force them to stay on your site. In most cases, they will end up closing your site's window anyway.
So my point (I do have one, honest): please don't use
target="_blank". It's not only inaccessible, but it's a nuisance to those of us such as myself (and it's not just me) who dislike our default settings being overridden. Let the user choose how to open links. Like I said, if your site is really worth staying on, people will stay on it. There is no need to force them to do so.