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RE: Accessibility and mailto links

From: Gatewood, Joy <jogat@opic.gov>
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2001 10:06:46 -0400
Message-ID: <6A7C3776346BD41180DD00600805604C0131AD93@out-dc1.opic.gov>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
As a webmaster of several sites, I've observed that when you give
users a choice of selecting between a mailto email link and a form,
you will get much greater response rate from the form.  At one website,
averaged 3,000 visitors daily, our "About this site" page 
had a mailto email link for the webmaster.  We averaged about 2 - 3 emails

When we changed the page so the visitors had the option of filling out
a form, the webmaster email volume increased to 10 - 15 daily.  Your
of course, may vary.

This becomes important if you plan to have an accessibility page on your 
web site.  An accessibility page should give users an opportunity to 
report any accessibility problems that they may have using the website, so
that feedback method should be as accessible as possible.

Personally I dislike and never use the mailto email link. First, it is a
hassle to configure 
one's browser to send email.  Secondly, public computers at a school or
library are often
disabled so that sending email this way is not permitted (I used to work
within the Arlington, VA library system and we did disable this).  And 
finally, someone browsing the web from work may not want to send mail and
be indentified by their work email address.  

However, I agree with Miraz that users should be offered a choice - either
the mailto email
link or the form.

Joy Gatewood
-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Neff [mailto:rneff@bbnow.net]
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2001 1:29 AM
To: Miraz Jordan; Graham Oliver; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: Accessibility and mailto links

i disagree.  forms offer a huge advantage for customers because they do not
require the user to have an email package and we all know how flaky the
email set-ups can be. and how they may not work.  i can go to the library or
a public kiosk and be allowed to use email or need to set it up and remove
it.  whereas a form can be used on a public system.

unfortunately, you will need to get used to forms.  there are needed for
sites that have mail traffic and interaction with the customer.  form
messaging systems greatly reduce the costs of manual processes.  while some
messaging systems can import email information into the database, forms are
much more efficient and scalable. scalability is the key as well as tracking
the message as it gets passed around in the workflow.  this is for tracking
how long i had it and who had it last.  you must take care of the customer
on the response to thier question.  most systems have this is as a part of
Customer Relationship Management systems and they are getting cheaper for
mid-level sites to afford, but not fast enough.

from an implementation aspect, email is not efficient and is a huge burden
to manage, whereas, forms are an effective way to manage customer traffic.

cheers, rob

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of Miraz Jordan
Sent: Monday, June 04, 2001 10:30 PM
To: Graham Oliver; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Accessibility and mailto links

At 02:41 +0100 05/06/2001, Graham Oliver wrote:
>mailto' links can be a problem because :-
>The alternative is a forms based approach to sending
>Any thoughts

As a user of a regular old graphical browser I find being forced to
use a form to send email extremely annoying. My email is contained in
my email application where I can search and store as I see fit. I can
easily compose mail and save drafts or mail which needs further
considering before sending.

If I'm forced to send mail via a form this "breaks" my system. I
generally end up copying and pasting from the form to a regular
message I send to myself, thus losing the sender and addressee info.

In addition, the space on a form is often pathetic, forcing me into
annoying scrolling.

I also hate it when the feedback / email address is kept secret from
me via a form.

I have absolutely no objection to websites which give me a choice
between a form and a mailto link.



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Received on Tuesday, 5 June 2001 10:08:52 UTC

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