your contact form sucks

I’m tempted to just end this post right here.

But let’s dive deeper, just for sport.

First of all, I’m probably looking at your contact form because you haven’t published your email addresses in a prominent manner.  I hunted around for your email address.  I tried hard to find it, and I’m good at finding things.  That’s really really *really* how I wanted to contact you.  But alas.  None to be found.

Instead, I found this "Contact" link, and clicked on that.

And now I’m staring at your form.

I hate your form.

It sucks the life out of me to even be sitting here looking at it.  But you leave me no option.

You’ve probably got too many fields on there.  I’m tired just thinking about filling out all those fields.  You don’t need my phone number.  Or my company name.  And why is the message box so narrow?  And then I have to "submit?" 

Pbthtt.  You submit.

And where’s the feedback loop?  I just filled out your "form" with my valuable "message" and clicked "submit" and….

nothing.

Did you get it?  I don’t know.  Should I fill it out again?

You know how people push the crosswalk button five million times to make sure that the button really got pushed?  Yeah.  You only need to hit it once.  Thing is, there’s no feedback so you don’t know that the traffic controller really knows you’re there, and so you hit it again.  And again.  I know you do.

But now they make those buttons so they beep when you push it.

Beep.

Message received.

One push.

So when I click your little passive-aggressive "submit" button and everything I just spent 5 minutes typing into those tiny boxes just disappears, I’m a little concerned.  I have no way of knowing if that just sent you a message.  Can’t you pop up some kind of success message?  Whee!  Yes we got that!  Or maybe use form software that sends me a copy of the email I just sent to you, so at least I know something was generated and sent.

Beep at me, for crying out loud.  Be better than the mindless button I push to cross the street.

Or, you know, just tell me your email address up front and we’ll avoid this whole mess.

 

(and yes, i hate mine too.)

13 Comments

  1. You mentioned that in your session a few weeks back in Chicago. I so agreed with you I tweeted it out. Got a lot of negative replies. Fear of spam. I have always been upfront with my email and phone number. If i don’t bother to fill out on someone else’s site, why should I assume they will bother to on my site?

    Reply

  2. Andrea – I saw that. 🙂 And that’s exactly what inspired this post. Like I said in Chicago, my free gmail account filters out about 99% of the spam I get and I’ve papered the internet with my email address since 2003. Fear of spam is a ridiculous reason to not publish your email address when free email accounts have pretty excellent filtering.

    Reply

    1. Kelley,

      Your comment about Gmail’s spam filtering is money!

      I’m pretty confident in my email spam killer, and like you, have had multiple email addresses plastered all over the ‘net for many years. Needless to say, my inbox doesn’t get littered with much spam.

      Funny thing though, those “forms” that I fill out often result in a LOT of unwanted email correspondence… And they often violate the CAN-SPAM act by not having a clear way to unsubscribe.

      Just sayin’…

      Todd

      Reply

  3. Once upon a time, theory was the form served the purpose of identifying the source of the inquiry. Of course, if someone takes the trouble to send a personalized email, won’t you then engage them? And then, hey, you can ask them anything you could in a form…right?

    Reply

  4. Hi Rich! I know I took a, ah, strong viewpoint in the post, but there’s still a place for forms on sites, most certainly. Let’s just design them better, so that they don’t frustrate people with either length or wondering if their message got through.

    Reply

  5. We just recently did a whole site redesign and we came to the conclusion that since we want people to actually reach out to us, we would put multiple ways for people to contact us on the “contact us” page.

    Call us crazy, but we think we may be on to something here. So, we included email, phone #, Twitter and Facebook links. Plus, as an added bonus (and for those that just LOVE the form) we included the old school web form that you so eloquently describe here, complete with a “beep” once the form message has been sent.

    We know that this is going WAY above and beyond what most agents are willing to do, and we’re OK with that.

    Great post Kelley!

    Reply

  6. It’s so easy to offer a brief form with receipt confirmation, etc. for form users, and contact data for those would prefer a more direct approach. Your post was spot on.

    Reply

  7. Kelly,

    Touchdown!

    I 100% agree with you. I was just trying to contact a Realtor in another city to *maybe* give him a referral. When I finally got to his “contact me” page, he had the proverbial “fill in the blanks” form.

    My response? NEXT!

    He lost a probable referral. And he’ll never know it.

    I REFUSE to fill out forms of that nature.

    I want a record of the exchange for archiving purposes, and I want a threading of any subsequent conversation.

    Forms? Yeah, YOU SUCK.

    Rock on, kid! Great post!

    Best,
    Michael

    Reply

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