You see a contact form on a website and an email address next to it. Which one do you use? For me, it’s always the email address. If a contact form is the only option, I probably won’t reach out at all.
Every now and then we hear from someone asking us why Semplice doesn’t include a contact form option. While we do our best not to force any style or decision on people, we probably won’t ever include a contact form in Semplice.
Of course, it’s still easily possible with a plugin for those who really want it. But I would venture to say contact forms are, in many cases, bad practice today. This is especially true for portfolios, the main focus of Semplice.
Have you ever felt enthusiastic about filling out a contact form on a site?
You more likely wondered if the form actually worked, and if it did, whether you would ever receive a response. Even if your message does find the eyes of a human being, the poor sap shoveling out contact form inquiries probably isn’t the person you wanted to reach. They will forward your message to someone else who may or may not answer it.
When you fill out a contact form, you have little control over the formatting of your message. You can’t link anything up or break your message into paragraphs for easy reading. Your message will likely arrive in one heavy block, making you appear unprofessional and making it even less likely anyone on the receiving end wants to read it. Not only that, but your message won’t be in your outbox, so you can’t follow-up or find history later.
Most contact forms are poorly designed, usually embedded and unstyled using some outdated plugin. Even nicely designed forms feel dated and cumbersome. Using a form to make an online purchase or fill out an application is a chore – it’s why e-commerce sites are constantly optimizing their checkout flow for conversions, because people inevitably drop somewhere off along the way when forced to complete a form process.
It's simple: We fill out forms not because we want to, but because we have to.
Use a contact form on your portfolio and it will negatively impact the opportunities you receive through your site. People may not want to tell you their budget at this point. Asking “how did you hear about us?” is only going to annoy them. They almost certainly don’t want to give you their phone number, and wouldn’t expect you to call if they did. We have more reason than ever to protect our private information these days. The only forms we fill out are the tax ones, and that’s because we have to.
For portfolio purposes at least, make it as easy as possible for people to reach you.
Yes, forgoing a form means you may receive more spam and irrelevant inquiries. But if you have an efficient system, it shouldn’t make much of a difference. Use a specific email address for this purpose only. Suggest on your site what information people should include when they reach out, or just ask those questions after they do. Copy and paste the same questions straight into an email and call it done.
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.
Hi, I'm Tobias, a German designer living in New York. I'm the author of this blog, nice to meet you!