Support » Plugin: Zotpress » Zotpress – Open all links in new tab?

  • Resolved ljburton


    Hi Katie!

    I have another hiccup I’m hoping you can help with. All Zotpress links are opening in the same tab. It’s bad UX for both site visitors and admins. I’ve tried using plugins to force external links to new tab, but they don’t help with Zotpress links.

    I cite all of my posts and don’t want to loose readers because they’re curious about a reference. I love the admin area for quickly checking links, but it’s a pain remembering to right-click/new tab every time. Worse is forgetting and inadvertently navigating away from admin.

    Would you be able to provide a snippet or advice? Honestly, I think new tab as the default behavior covers way more scenarios than same tab.

    I really appreciate your time and help with such an awesome plugin!

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Hi Katie – I think I found it but am wondering if this is all of it?

    Line 469


    // Set target for links
    $zp_target_output = ""; if ( $zp_target ) $zp_target_output = "target='_blank' ";


    // Set target for links
    $zp_target_output = "target='_blank'"; if ( $zp_target ) $zp_target_output = "target='_blank' ";
    Plugin Author Katie


    Actually, the UX convention is to let the user decide how to handle links (user autonomy). As such, Zotpress follows the default for most browsers, which is to have links open in the same tab/window. It’s up to the user to decide differently. If Zotpress were to force it, there’s also the issue of whether it should be a new tab or new window — how can Zotpress decide? Only the user can. So I will not be enabling this by default.

    That said, Zotpress has a feature (which you found in the code) to force this, which is to use the “target” attribute in your shortcodes. Keep in mind that different browsers interpret the target “_blank” differently (maybe it’s a new tab, maybe it’s a new window) and your users may not want to have a new tab/window forced on them for every link.

    Hi Katie –
    Thanks for your quick reply – glad it was such a simple change 🙂 Like the rest of the UX community, we’re gonna have to agree to disagree 😛

    It’s true that we can only force new – whether it’s a new tab or window is set in the user’s browser. Zotpress couldn’t decide even if I wanted it to.

    And as a legally blind person who’s been designing sites for 18+ years, I highly value user autonomy. I also value logical design that conforms to user expectations, creates clear & retraceable paths through the experience, and still manages to feel fresh & inviting.

    In my view, best practices are lowest common denominators. They’re starting points but it’s still my job to make deliberate choices that improve interaction.

    Most UX peeps agree that forcing new is absolutely correct in certain situations – opening non-html files like PDFs and large images is a good example. So is opening links from email. So is opening help pages for users in the middle of a task, completing a form, or during checkout.

    And that’s how I view citations. If you’re reading a post and click on a citation, it’s probably to compare the two. If you click on one citation, you’ll probably be interested in clicking on others … In both cases, the user needs the original site to finish the task of reading a post or browsing citations … Forcing new in this scenario isn’t nefarious or illogical – it’s good design.

    Zooming out … Whether or not you agree with external links opening in new, the convention has existed for so long, it is what most users expect. Is it the most efficient? Is it what everyone wants? No. But it’s well established and easy to grok, and that counts more.

    Hu … I just asked 8 teenagers sitting in my living room – all on mobile devices. All of them STRONGLY believe external links should always open in a new window and HATE it when they don’t. What’s weird is they all also said (yelled) that on some sites, everything should open in a new window … tangent.

    I’ve been around for a while and cringe when user autonomy – or any guideline – is treated as the end-all-be-all. It’s valuable, but not to the exclusion of context, audience, and desired outcomes. Steering users along paths of discovery is exactly what UX is about.

    To that end, I hope you’ll consider making an admin toggle to set the target – not everyone is as adventurous as I am when it comes to code, and it will have to be reset with each update.

    I’ll stop bending your ear – thanks again for such a great plugin and the awesome support!

    – Lisa

    Plugin Author Katie


    I appreciate your view, but we do seem to disagree. I’ve been in UX and web design for a long time as well. In my view, user autonomy is crucial here. Setting new as default would not be best as a general approach to the UX here because, if set, a user who doesn’t expect or want it won’t have a choice in the matter, whereas, if not set, a user still has the choice to open in new (or not). If I leave things as they are, someone expecting/wanting new could be led down a linear path, but they could still use the back features of the browser to return to any previous point (which is clear and retraceable) and of course open new tabs/windows as they desire (such as to compare documents), whereas someone not expecting/wanting new could get lost in multiple tabs/windows and feel a lack of control. Relying on the browser default for new is also irksome since it forces one kind of new when it can be a contextual choice, as you note. And while I agree that in certain contexts it’s best to set new as the default, I’m not convinced this is one of them. All that said, I’m open to hearing about any research (that’s what we’re all about here ;)) or expert guidelines relevant to this context. Perhaps other users will pipe in with their views. Sounds like it could even be worth running a study to see what users’ expectations are here and under what circumstances.

    In any case, I think this is easily resolved for you by adding the “target” attribute to your shortcodes, no? You should not have to edit the code. But perhaps I’ve missed something?

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by Katie.
Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
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