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Re: Accessibility and mailto links

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Tue, 05 Jun 2001 10:32:07 -0400
Message-Id: <200106051430.KAA160239@smtp2.mail.iamworld.net>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Graham,

Please may I second what Miraz and David have said.

At 08:20 AM 2001-06-05 +0100, David Woolley wrote:
>
>- forms often do not cover the cases that I'm interested in..
>

Here is the key point for customer care, or the quality benefits that you gain
from gathering feedback.  The people with the answers most always see the
world
through a more fine-grained set of pigeonholes than do the people with the
questions or complaints [That's a FAQ].

For emotional and "comfortable language" considerations, you always want to
give the customer room to vent in their own terms, without forcing them to
cram
what they have to say into a set of narrow pigeonholes.  This implies
accepting
email feedback.  This is costly,  It is a lot cheaper to run a form and just
look at the spreadsheet of the aggregated form results, but you get what you
pay for.  Forms and spreadsheets will not tell you about usability or
accessibility issues with your site that you probably did not anticipate in
your design and your form, or you wouldn't have the problem.

Because the implementation of mailto: URLs is spotty, you should really
have an
email address in the plain text of the page as well as automation using a
mailto: URL.  This can be indirect via a direct link to your "contact us" page
if you wish.

But Miraz is right.  You should offer the user a choice.  Here is an area
where
the technology does not capture enough of the user preference distribution
into
one technical approach for you to rely entirely on one technique.  People's
comfort levels with different technologies amenable to feedback vary all over
the lot.  If you really want to hear from people, you will tool up for
multiple
modes to cover that diversity.

AND, while we are on it, the usability problems for forms for people with
disabilities are severe enough at this time so that if you do choose to
implement a feedback form only, you are significantly hurting your chances of
hearing from this constituency.  At least if you look at the penetration
studies of the AFB for people with visual disabilities, I believe that you
will
find many more are fully at home sending an email as compared with how
comfortable they are filling out a form.

Al  
Received on Tuesday, 5 June 2001 10:30:12 GMT

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