If you must use PDF or other PC-native documents on websites, open them in new windows. Jakob Nielsen gives the following guidelines:
- Open non-web documents in a new browser window.
- Warn users in advance that a new window will appear.
- Remove the browser chrome (such as the back button) from the new window.
According to Jakob Nielsen, users feel like they're interacting with a PC application when using PC-native file formats. When people are finished, they click the window's close button instead of the back button, and are surprised that the web page is gone. Because they are no longer browsing a website, they shouldn't be given a browser interface.
- The article Open New Windows for PDF and other Non-Web Documents
- August 29, 2005
See also: Tips and guidelines (63) Navigation (44)