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RE: Anti-spam email links in Javascript

for

From: Karl Groves
Date: Apr 10, 2004 5:33PM


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Karl L. Groves

-----Original Message-----
From: Smith-White, Shermainne [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2004 6:16 PM
To: <EMAIL REMOVED>
Subject: RE: Anti-spam email links in Javascript



Please unsubcribe my e-mail, <EMAIL REMOVED>



-----Original Message-----
From: John Foliot - WATS.ca [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Fri 4/9/2004 11:04 AM
To: <EMAIL REMOVED>
Cc:
Subject: RE: Anti-spam email links in Javascript

> It's not a matter of subjective evaluations. It simply isn't. It could
be
> an improvement to have a form as an _alternative_, but _replacing_ an
> email address with a form would reduce accessibility, no matter how
good
> the form is (most forms on the Web are awful, with their stamp-side
> textareas and with their reset buttons). Think about a user who knows
how
> to use an E-mail program but cannot use a form interface, since only
his
> E-mail program contains the assistive technology he needs.
>

I beg your pardon? You're saying that a form is *less* accessible than
an
email address? How can that be?

As pointed out (within this thread), users who may be accessing your
content
through a public terminal, or who's user agent does not have (or
support) an
email client, cannot contact the site owners through a simple mailto:
link.

A properly developed form, on the other hand, is just more HTML, and
users
of AT who can access your page content should be able to access your
form as
well. Now, it's true that many (most?) developers don't know how to do
forms correctly - no argument there - but to suggest that an email link
is
more accessible than a form, is, IMHO false. Jukka, I'll meet you half
way
(they are equal), but cannot accept your statement as written.

Advantages to forms:
- properly done, can be navigated through quickly, even more so
when coded
with the < fieldset> and < legend> attributes. These attributes also
group
similar or like informational concepts, in accordance with WAI Priority
2 -
12.3 "Divide large blocks of information into more manageable groups
where
natural and appropriate."

- *most* form scripts also allow for immediate feedback to the
sender; a
"Thank you we have received your note" type response page. This type of
positive re-enforcement aids those with cognitive disabilities (it
confirms
to them that they were successful), as well as enhances general
usability
(because just about everyone wants to know they have been successful
when
submitting requests, information, etc.) Developers can even echo back
tracking numbers, etc., again aiding in usability, as well as enhancing
client confidence.

- all functionality is server side as opposed to client side -
this topic
could encompass a whole other discussion, but consider: WAI Priority 1 -
6.3
"Ensure that pages are usable when scripts, applets, or other
programmatic
objects are turned off or not supported. If this is not possible,
provide
equivalent information on an alternative accessible page." One *could*
stretch the interpretation of "programatic object" to encompass an email
client - a stretch for sure, but not unfeasible. If you do not have
access
to an email client, you cannot contact the web site - period.

- as noted within this thread, using forms reduces the need to
publicly
post an email address, thus reducing spam (which *HAS* to be a good
thing!!!)

- using a form helps the submitter to succinctly deliver their
message, as
you are "helping them" by asking the leading questions. What is your
name?
what is your email address? what is your comment? does it pertain to
any of
the pre-determined topics? (this also helps site admins who generally
receive this type of information, as the subject line can be
pre-determined,
allowing the recipients to filter and sort their correspondence from the
site)

- having a feedback form on an HTML document also allows
developers to
directly link to any privacy policy the site owners may adhere to
(whereas a
simple email has no assurances of any privacy protection). In this day
and
age, with digital privacy becoming more and more important, this too is
an
advantage (although outside the realm of accessibility).

Just my $0.02 (or roughly $0.03 Canadian)

JF
--
John Foliot <EMAIL REMOVED>
Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of WATS.ca
Web Accessibility Testing and Services
http:/