This is a classic example of balancing user and business needs.
From a pure user standpoint, the best solution is to include and use plain email addresses. They require the least amount of time to 'figure out' and to use--find the person's name, click their email address, send them an email. Done. They can also easily copy and paste the email address. Any other solution adds more effort and complexity for what should be a simple task. I'll admit there have been times I've left a site because it's so difficult to send them an email.
From a business standpoint, I totally understand the spam issue. I think a business needs to balance their number one goal (make it easy for customers to contact them, including by email) with their responsibility to manage spam. The key is to carefully weigh the impact they place upon their web site users with the implementation they choose. I applaud you, Pat, for looking into this.
That said, I'm not against a simple 'contact us' form, as long as the only required field is the email address. Forms that require names, addresses and more simply raise too many hurdles for the user, especially if that form is their only way to 'email' the business. If the business needs to collect and require specific information from a customer, use a separate form for that purpose.
_______________ Reply, Pat M wrote:
We are considering two other approaches:
1. Including the e-mail address but making it an image. However, this
would mean the address could not be copied and pasted.
2. Not including the e-mail address but using a "Contact Me" form that has
fields the user completes.
What are your opinions about these options?
Thanks - Pat
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Vista Point Consulting
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