Usability and Navigation: How to Make it Work - It's very important...
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It's very important to inform your visitor if the link leads to the document in different format rather then HTML. It will be a good courtesy to give them a choice of downloading a Word document, PDF, or an archive (ZIP, RAR) and make sure that you let them know it before they click the link. It's especially important if link will force launching an application. A lot of users may be discouraged by the fact that you are forcing them to do what they didn't agree to. That may be a big turn off. A good addition to this type of warning may be a size of a document which is being downloaded or type of application to be launched.
Here is the example:
Usability and Navigation: How to Make it Work. Author: Natasha Chernyavskaya. © Artographica.com. Download or open in PDF, 31,1K (if opened will launch Adobe Acrobat) | Download in ZIP archive, 26,2K.
I personally don't like when a link opens in a new window, no matter if it's an internal or an external link. But no matter why you open links in a new window, warn your visitors about it.
To Splash or Not?
Some website owners like splash (intro) pages. Some are so obsessed with them so they insist on those intros to be a first page of their websites no matter what. The worst scenario it's of course a Flash or any type of movie when a visitor has nothing to do, but wait till it ends and then a link Enter a Site appears. If you have a splash like that, you may say good-buy to up to 98% of your visitors (and potential buyers!).
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