Down with contact forms

Strong opinion from Tobias Van Scheider:

The only time contact forms are worthwhile is when you are trying to collect very specific information for the purpose of helping someone or completing a task. Otherwise, forms are a relic from web days past.

Eh. I don’t think forms are a relic from web days past. Email is older than forms, if we’re gonna compare them like that. But I take the point, particularly this feeling after filling out a form on a site you have no experience with:

You more likely wondered if the form actually worked, and if it did, whether you would ever receive a response.

I know my email sends when I send it, and gives me the opportunity to send that email in whatever format I think will be the most useful. And I agree a contact form on a portfolio site like Tobias builds for a living… maybe not the best fit.

But just offhand, forms can do lots. You can route messages based on a dropdown selection. Forms can be integrated with other services. For example, saving the submitted data to a database, subscribing the user to a mailing list, or putting them into a CRM. Forms can help filter spam (as well as generate it if you aren’t careful). Forms can help submit contextual information, like what browser a user is using and the like.

I ain’t trying to dog on email. I prefer that people just provide their email for contacting when possible. I’m just not anti-form, either.

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