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LYNX-DEV improving on the mailto:help link

From: Al Gilman
Subject: LYNX-DEV improving on the mailto:help link
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 09:19:09 -0400 (EDT)

     * Subject: Re: LYNX-DEV addressing mail to your friends
     * From: Nelson Henry Eric <address@hidden>

Two weeks should give us time to get a form together -- _IF_ that's what
we want.  Folks at lynx-dev, is a form with mailto action what we want,
or should it just be a text reference with no link at all as Al suggested?

I don't regard a plaintext mention of the email address as the
ideal solution, but I do consider it as within the competitive
range.  I don't like this one because cutting and pasting
computer codes like email addresses is a bit tricky in speech and
so blind newbies using speech will find this a particular
barrier.  I dislike a form solution roughly as much.  Form
filling is also an "intermediate" level skill for blind users;
not what you master in the first round.

The history of this is that there is a "So you found a bug" page
at Lynx links but I failed to send people there from the home
page because I feel that for beginners one needs something that
starts earlier up the diagnostic tree -- roughly "what to do when
you have trouble."  This combines links into the Help literature
with guides to diagnostic procedures.  At the foot of this page
one could have a mailto: link.  If it's on a separate page you
have room to indulge in some coaching on how to find out what we
would like to have in the way of particulars.

Incidentally, you don't have to ask them to use '=' to get 
their version, this is in the email headers when Lynx acts
on a mailto: link now.  How much more of this info could
Lynx know and include automatically?  I know that Lynx will
now process a subject parameter on a mailto.  An X-host
header would make sense.

Personally, I don't think that a form is user-friendly.  Maybe it
is just that I have experienced too many user-unfriendly
"feedback" forms written by webmasters with no training in
customer service.  But the idea that form-filling is a relatively
advanced skill (for blind people using speech) could be taken as
a question to lynx-learners or webwatch-l and I think they would
confirm what I said.

Recap: any separate page gets you room to coach good problem
writeup practices before they hit "send."  That would be an
improvement.  As it is now, they get that coaching in the
auto-response after they use the mailto.  Once you have done the
coaching, whether the action should be via a form or mailto is
an open question on which I would tilt toward mailto.  Ideally a
new and improved "what to do when you have trouble" would be a
section in the User's Guide that ships with the product.  The
home page can link to it in any case, regardless of whether it is

        - a page unique to
        - a page at Lynx links
        - a page or #fragment in the Lynx Help in a breakout site

If people think a form would be a good idea, does someone want to make a
better proposal (PLEASE anyone!) than the thing I tacked up, or is it up
to me to get something decent prepared since I opened my mouth first?

I do hope you will accept "ownership" of the thread up until you find
someone else to take it over.  Things like continuing to ask the
"have we answered this one?" questions.

Al Gilman
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