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Automatically open new tab for links/external tools set to 'Load in a new tab'

Automatically open new tab for links/external tools set to 'Load in a new tab'

(6)

Previously under the title "Link to External URL"

When linking to an external url that Canvas will not (or cannot) embed, link should automatically open in a new tab or window.  Currently, Canvas opens another page saying you have to open it in a new tab, then you have to click that link to do that.  Why not just go directly to that page in a new tab?  Links in other locations already do this.

If Canvas is worried a user would be confused by being outside of Canvas suddenly, perhaps they could flash a redirect page saying they are leaving the course and to close this tab to return, or something along those lines.  

Comments from Instructure


New behavior governing external tool links was released to production in November 2019. For more information, please read through the Canvas Deploy Notes (2019-11-20)

79 Comments
GideonWilliams
Community Champion

Please vote for this. I cannot understand why we have have this and its yet another extra step to click on. It also looks awful.

We have Office365 integration and an external link added to the module opens straight in this file.

Very frustrating.

sdsanders
Community Member

YES, please vote for this. This is one glaring issue that affects courses that already have lots of content created and just needs elegant linking. The current model is so clunky it's kind of embarrassing.

mfuller2
Community Participant

Fix it Fix it Fix it!!!!!  Horrible way to link to other places having to click on another "click on this tab" link.

mfuller2
Community Participant

Can I vote for this again?

tokheimc
Community Member

I would like to vote for this a thousand times.  The first time I noticed this issue, I thought for sure it was a bug.

cholling
Community Champion

Can I vote multiple times? 😉

James
Community Champion

cholling

Yes, you can vote multiple times by alternating between Up and Down votes. However, if you like the idea, then be sure to vote an odd number of times. If you vote 1000 times like  @tokheimc   wanted to do, you'll actually end up canceling out your Up vote.

That said, something getting lots of votes doesn't mean it will happen. As an example, there was one recent feature idea that quickly rose in the vote count, but when you looked at the votes, almost all of them were from the same institution. Canvas uses the Community and the voting system as one method of gathering input, but the process is much more involved than just a simple vote count.

James
Community Champion

There was a question asked in September 2017 that seems related to this feature idea: https://community.canvaslms.com/thread/19657-external-url-open-in-new-tab-automatically 

The discussion that followed attempted to explain the potential reasons why that extra step is there.

mfuller2
Community Participant

You know, I used to have these kinds of conversations with the developer of my company site when back in the day. He used to tell me why it can't be a certain way from a programming standpoint, and I would have to explain that from a customer expectation standpoint it HAS to work another way. Then he would find a way to make it work the way it's should work. That's the way I see this problem... no one expects to have to click another time to get to the place that they're going. It looks and feels wrong... needs to be fixed.

mfuller2
Community Participant

So what you're saying is, we need to rally the troops and get everyone to vote for this thing... from what I can tell we only need about 300 more people to vote for it before it will get a serious look by Canvas Smiley Happy  I did have a few others from our school vote for it, so hopefully that helps get some traction.

James
Community Champion

No, that's not at all what I'm saying. I think that's the exact opposite of what I was saying.

James
Community Champion

I must be mis-remembering what I wrote back in September. I thought I wrote that from a user's perspective (not the programmers), it would be bad to automatically open links. However, without thinking too deeply about it, if you could discern between a user who clicked on a link and a user who got there by clicking the next or previous buttons, then it might be more palatable.  External links that open in new tabs are marked as such and have accessibility tags added to warn the user that it's about to go to another place and leave Canvas. That's already there in the module system, so the user knows it's an external link (at least in a browser, not sure about the mobile app), so in my limited framework (sighted user on a desktop with a browser), it seems stupid to require an extra click. But I don't know what other design considerations Canvas has gone through. While it is technically possible to do what you're asking about, there are probably things we haven't considered that are keeping them from doing it.

The notice to open in another window would still be necessary for people using the module navigation (next and previous) to get there.

ronmarx
Community Contributor

I'm surprised I didn't find this idea sooner, but here it is!

I prepared a screen shot graphic to illustrate an idea post I was going to put up here on CC, so here it is.

For those of us (K-12 school districts) who try to leverage digital instructional content into ad hoc LORs, this link should work just like hard coded target="_blank". The student clicks on the link (or navigates to the link in module-sequence), and the referenced page should open automatically.

275957_Canvas Idea Open Sep Tab One Click.jpg

Thanks for posting this operating improvement suggestion, and encourage your posse here on CC to VOTE IT UP!

GideonWilliams
Community Champion

Was just thinking about this again tonight as I made links to external sites. Hugely disappointing that it has attracted so little attention.

Surely its not a huge fix? Its not as if it requires a massive change of approach as the check box says Load in a new Tab

Thanks for the great image...

BradMoser
Community Champion

I second and third this motion. Since this is an LTi, I wonder if we are barking up the wrong tree. Who developed the Redirect Tool? Can they make the change so that it works the way it is described? 

timothy_maw
Community Champion

Yes, exactly. I remember the first time I selected the "open in a new tab" option and then I was confused when it had me click on the link to open it up.

huic
Community Participant

Canvas should definitely kick the intermediate page with a pop-up button for external Urls. That’s sooooo early 2000! All other links on pages can just invoke a pop-up right away, like a good old target=_blank link.

#lessclick #moreslick

jon_mason
Community Participant

I agree that this is important and would be a significant improvement to the user experience. However, there is an important consideration here about whether implementing such a change would result in more users having pop-ups blocked. 

I'm not sure the title represents the idea particularly well. I would recommend changing the title to something like "Automatically open new tab for links/external tools set to 'Load in a new tab'".

Bobby2
Community Coach
Community Coach

Until a change occurs, or if it is impossible, this could help. https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/k12/blog/2018/02/25/ctrl-k-you-rock  

ybakos
Community Member

This should be a high-priority item. It's a usability disgrace, and reduces student engagement. This simple change would increase student engagement in moving through linked content.