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ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)


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Boniface Lau <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Sun, 31 Oct 1999 20:41:05 -0500
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Terry Sullivan wrote:

> (Regarding the original question, pertaining to the utility of
> "mailto:" links, my experience is that folks will virtually *always*
> prefer an HTML feedback form, if one is made available; dead problem.)

I am surprised. Is such user preference your speculation or is it based
on some surveys? How can I can get a copy of the surveys?

I, for one, strongly dislike feedback forms. They often include fields
for personal data which I think is none of their business.

If a feedback form does not include those extra fields, then what is
left is just a blank window for entering the feedback message. As for
entering a message, the text handling capability of an email client is
much better than that of a form.

I much prefer a mailto link which opens up with an email compose window
and all the necessary fields are pre-filled. Users just type in whatever
they want to say and click on the send button. The mailto way is:

* simple -  users don't have to fill in unnecessary fields.

* clean - there is no unnecessary text boxes to clutter the window.

* non-intrusive - users say whatever they want to say, no more and no

* more inviting - for entering feedback, users basically have a tool
that they are already familiar with, i.e. the email client's text
editor. Hence, users are "at home" while entering their feedback and are
likely to give more details than when they are asked to fill in a form.
Users can even spell-check their messages.

Because of the above, I speculate that users are more likely to proceed
with contacting a site than when presented with yet another form to

Boniface Lau