Sunday, January 18, 2004

MailTo Link and Usability

Too often I go to a site, select a link, and have my email client activated. I find this very intrusive. Asking around, I found that this sentiment was widespread, especially among more experienced users. [See table below.] The browser should not open the email client without first giving warning to the end user. For instance the link “send an email” is more than sufficient to warn the user that a mailto link is being used. I think that usability would be increased by adding the mailto link. For instance

If you would like to know more please contact us at

Contact Us links ought to take the user to a contact page from which mailto links are listed. Forms should also be included in case the end user is on the road and does not have an email client or does not wish to make his email address known. This is not a recommendation for eliminating mailto links. Site owners must be aware that contact forms are distrusted by many web users. [See previous post]

Bothered A Lot Bothered Somewhat Not Bothered Experience Level
22 16 2 Very/Professional
14 16 4 Yes
2 5 11 Novice

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