The trouble with mailto email links and what to do instead

Some interesting thinking from Adam Silver and Amy Hupe. They see some some issues with mailto: links:

Firstly, mailto links make it hard to copy the address, for example if you want to share the email address with someone else.

Secondly, some users use more than one mail app, and the link just uses whichever has been setup as the default, without giving them the option to use the other.

And finally, many users don’t have an email application set up, which means the link can take them to a dead end or down a rabbit hole.

For that first one, personally, I find it easier to copy because browsers provide that right-click “copy email address” UI. But I can see how that isn’t know by all and not exactly mobile friendly. Two and three seem like edge cases. Not enough to give up on the links for.

But! Where they end up after a couple of iterations makes good sense:

  1. Show the email, so it’s obvious what the link does
  2. Offer to copy the email address, which is nice UX, and solves the edge cases.

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