No new browser windows... ever??

Subject: No new browser windows... ever??
From: "Cook, Jenise" <jenise -dot- cook-crabbe -at- pacificlife -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 13:57:12 -0800

Our team has completed the first phase of transitioning our hardcopy P&Ps
into online format. We're using eHelp's RoboHelp HTML 2002's Web Help (let's
discuss tools in a separate subject line).

The "Related Topics" button at the bottom of our topic pages works in one of
two ways, per RoboHelp:

1. If only one related topic is listed, user selects it and the new topic
opens within the current browser window.
2. If several related topics are listed, user selects one, and the new topic
opens in a new browser window.

We did this on purpose. Our users will access the online P&Ps from our
corporate extranet. Our audience consists of very busy people who just want
to find what they need to get the job done. We were looking at our project
not as a Web site, but as online help for our field audience. We thought
they'd "check out" a related topic and close out of it. (We hope to do a
field usability test with a couple of users.)

Well, our eBusiness/Web development team has loaded our compiled project on
the dev server, and they've told us to conform to the corporate standards.
This means all Related Topics must open within the current browser window
(change setting from _blank to _self). Sigh. Well, we went to
to see what Dr. Jakob Nielsen says. Sure enough, he listed "Opening New
Browser Windows" as number 2 in a list of "The Top Ten New Mistakes of Web
Design." We can take it on the chin.
We're grown ups.

But, we're still somewhat curious, and want to know what you all think. In
this case, would you still apply the "no new browser windows" standard to
Related Topics within online documentation/help?

Thank you!

Jenise Cook-Crabbe
Sr. Technical Writer
Pacific Life Insurance Co.
jenise -dot- cook-crabbe -at- pacificlife -dot- com

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