Pros and cons of contact forms vs email addresses

Forms

5 Pros

  1. Better data capture therefore easier processing for organisation – saves time and money
  2. Better data storage therefore better for CRM
  3. Browser autofill makes it easier for the user to complete
  4. Better conversation tracking from website – i.e. can tell which pages are converting/lead generation
  5. Can accommodate multiple contact list – i.e. not just mail out to one address, email routing

A Con

Spam which will require captcha forms/similar* to vet out

Email

A ‘sort of’ Pro

Have a record of comms, however since we are capturing the users email address we can send them a copy when they submit the form so not really a problem.

6  Cons

  1. Can’t ensure we have all the information we need to respond back
  2. Makes the sales cycle even longer due to back and forth due to lack of any data capture form
  3. No database to interrogate to create customer profiles and segments
  4. If Mail To is used then takes user off page to launch email client which additionally may require log in
  5. If only web address provided then user has to copy paste and open their mail client to contact you
  6. Exposed email address i.e. shown onsite are often harvested and sold which leads to spam coming into the organisation
References

http://mrwweb.com/email-address-contact-form-debate/

http://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/6959/contact-form-or-mailto-link

http://www.takeflyte.com/flyte/2011/03/contact-form-vs-email-link-which-is-better.html

http://www.smallbusinessbrief.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10937

Captcha Alternatives

https://econsultancy.com/blog/63144-six-alternatives-to-using-the-dreaded-captcha-images#i.y1yzh7fcydffr5

http://www.usertesting.com/blog/2014/04/09/think-your-site-needs-captcha-try-these-user-friendly-alternatives/

Plain text vs Masked, V-travelled ala Virgin & Bing vs Google

1] The glasses wearing usability man Jacob Nielson has caused more waves than usual by calling for all log in forms to display plain text as opposed to masked. Quite interesting retaliation but even more interesting usability findings in the comments.

Coxy, Payne, know you’re going to have a field day, this one goes out to youJ

2] Virgin have launched last week (when I should have been writing this) a UGC travel siteV-travelled. It includes v-pods – ‘useful pieces of kit to make travel planning less of a chore and more the beginning of something exciting’ and ‘matching your travel DNA to other travellers on the site. That way you get a better feeling of whose advice you’re taking – makes sense doesn’t it?’
Quite nice I thought, lets keep an eye on this one…

3] And it was Bing vs Google for Catalyst who studied search engine usability – am sure you’ll all make up your own mindsJ

Have a lovely hot tropical week, its supposed to be a melty 31c on Wednesday! Blimey!