Email is an interesting channel and is often widely promoted as a choice of communications. On council websites you will see a variety of approaches which essentially trigger emails – individual emails, team emails, forms etc.
As we work on redeveloping the councils website we have started to think more and more about how we manage email on our site and how we make it accessible and usable across all size browsers.
One of the current challenges is that the mailto: attribute doesn’t work if someone uses a web based mail client such as gmail, yahoo mail, hotmail etc and would essentially have to copy and paste the email address into the “to” box.
On mobile devices (if the settings have been enabled) if you select a mailto: attribute you will often open the default email client on your phone or tablet.
We’ve thought that a contact form might be the best way to go, but what would someone do if they required to send attachments and or maintain copies themselves…this is obviously achievable in a contact form, but should we provide a “file store” for uploaded files, do we have a maximum size etc…
So we are currently thinking and discussing as a team “what do we do with email?”
We broadly see five options
- maintain existing approach and don’t address the user issues
- use a script that displays an option to open email in your desktop application or to use a contact form
- don’t use the mailto: attribute at all and simply display plain text
- to provide a copy to clipboard option next to the email address
- a combination of the above
What do people think, what examples have people found where email works well across all browsers and devices and doesn’t require a user to copy and paste manually…