Recently while attempting to leave a comment on a blog that I read regularly, I ran into an error. I wanted to let the blog author know about the problem so he could resolve the issue and I discovered I didn’t have his email address. On the website, I went to his “Contact” page and was disappointed to see a contact form of substantial length.
- my first and last name
- my email address
- (optionally) my phone number
- pick from a dropdown list of preconfigured “subjects” – none of which applied so I chose “Other”
- a comments box where I could type my message
- (optionally) my website’s URL
- (optionally) a checkbox to subscribe to an email newsletter
- a reCaptcha that took three tries to get right
Let’s contrast that to the experience I would’ve had if I’d been able to send this person an email from a mailto: link. I would’ve created a new message and:
- entered a subject that’s descriptive as compared to “Other”
- entered my comments
According to the site, “To help prevent spam I do not share my email address on my website.” Unfortunately, the web visitor is required to jump through a LOT of hoops because the website owner isn’t willing to use spam filtering on his email.
Don’t erect barriers to engagement. I wonder how many potentially interesting or useful bits of communication haven’t happened because someone got frustrated with an ornerous web contact form?