Mail me

As you would suppose, at the very end of the page comes the Mail Me button. It's not necessarily a picture, it could be just a text link or not even linked text. The important thing is that it worked.

When the web belonged to amateurs it belonged to the people. You knew that behind this page and email address was a person you could contact with a question, admiration or an insult. And people did.

In time the feedback elements on private sites became more modest but they haven't disappeared. They're still present. What has been lost is the custom of sending feedback.

There are many reasons for this but primarily it relates to the above mentioned professionalization and automation of being online and the transition to more sophisticated forms of interaction and communication: filling in, ordering, updating, repeating passwords, contacting support, tracking, informing info@ then proceeding to the check out.

And of course the reputation of email communication has been heavily damaged by Spam. Today if you're writing to somebody you don't know you run the risk of having your message diverted by the junk filter on the server or you can expect to be flooded by Spam after leaving your email address on an unknown site.

The once fascinating option to establish an immediate contact with the author of a site was recently supplanted by blogs. Instead of writing to the author, "Cool site!" you'd be better off putting the note in a blog. It will bring more people to the site and add more notes to more blogs. The counter will show hits but none of the visitors will say anything to you.

Getting emails from visitors to my site is something I really miss, more than starry night backgrounds and clumsy framesets. I know that from time to time the web will look and sound like it did ten years ago. Animated gifs will not be forgotten and at Christmas Jingle Bells and Celine Dion in MIDI format will be ringing on sites around the world but they will not move you to send an email saying, "What trash! Merry Christmas!" That's gone and I don't think designers can do anything about it.

Olia Lialina
February, 2005
Special thanks to James Allan for English tips