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Usually, info email will be provided in modern websites, either in contact page or on top of all pages, the issue here is spammer that can get the email (extract by regex or any other method), now, if converting the email from plain text to image like this:

E-Mail: info@example.com (plain)

E-Mail: enter image description here (Image)

See, it requires simply to consider image style and positioning, but it prevents spammer to extract the email. Another thing (side note) is to avoid image alt attribute when using image because it makes no sense if you provided the email again in plain text.

Now, the question is: Is there any usability issue when using an image instead of plain text for contact email?

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Do you expect that those spammers are unable to "read" the text on the image? Additionally, will the image still be clickable so that the mailto link can be handled? –  Michael Jul 20 '13 at 13:45
    
@Michael I am totally not talked about mailto I just mentioned (plain text) and (image) –  Akam Jul 20 '13 at 14:20
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@Michael: in many cases, it's enough not to be low-hanging fruit for spam harvesters. Somebody can pay a human to find the adress, nothing (other than a contact form) will stop that. –  Ulrich Schwarz Jul 20 '13 at 17:19
    
By default I don't load images that are in emails. I need to be convinced by the email text that the images are worth loading. –  obelia Jul 20 '13 at 19:11
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The standard solution to this problem is to use a contact form. Spammers will still hit it, but the number of spammers with your email address won't slowly increase time, so it's pretty manageable, even without captchas. –  Brian Jul 22 '13 at 21:22

4 Answers 4

Yes, there are usability issues.

If you do not include the address in a form usable by a screen-reader [eg alt text], how do sight-impaired internet users read it?

Is the image of the address a link? Is it a mailto: link? In that case you have defeated your own object and restricted its use to those who have their browser set up with an email client. [However, many browsers allow right-click to copy the link destination, so it might be possible to paste the address into an email.]

If it is not a link, and it is an image, then it's not possible to select and copy the text to paste it into an email. Users have to remember what the address is — and sight-impaired users won't even know what it is!

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Thanks, but when using mailto then provide plain text because the address also written in the source and at that case spammer (Or robots) can extract the email. –  Akam Jul 20 '13 at 14:22
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Exactly what I meant by "you have defeated your own object". Note that you have not asked how to implement an unspammable address (which is better suited to superuser.SE or webmasters.SE) but asked about UX. The UX of what you have specified is unsatisfactory. –  Andrew Leach Jul 20 '13 at 14:43
    
@AndrewLeach I disagree a bit with your view. The system administrator who has to go through loads of spam is as much a "user" (or rather stakeholder) of the system as the end user. A UX expert should try to maximize the (properly weighted) sum of user experience for all stakeholders, not just that of the end user. From this perspective, an unspammable address is UX relevant, and using a spammable address which is convenient for the end user but frustrates the admin is just as unsatisfactory as a naive implementation which frustrates the end user but protects the admin. –  Rumi P. Dec 5 '13 at 16:26

My main concern in image instead of text is that some people need/wish to change the default font size in their web browsers. Your image wouldn't be a good company between larger or smaller texts, I guess.

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Even if you would provide alt content, there are many problems with using text in images.

But as you don’t intend to use alt in the first place, you get important problems in addition, as now your email address "fails" also for:

  • screen reader users
  • text browser users
  • users that disabled image support (e.g., because of limited bandwith)
  • search engines
  • users searching for the address on the web page (with Ctrl+f)

Spam should be your problem. Don’t let your users "pay" for it.

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The question is mute. You still have the email embed in the HTML Link, thus having it in a picture won't help. Therefor I would strongly recomend that you use the text option.

These are the reasons why personally I wouldn't recommend a image:

  • Slow internet connections may not load the image
  • Blind users will be unable to contact you
  • Google may well look for a point of contact to give the site credibility
  • A user can't highlight the email and copy and paste it
  • When viewed zoomed in it may appear in a worse quality
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OP doesn’t seem to link the email address. –  unor Dec 1 '13 at 20:56
    
Surely then the real question is why not to link it? that in it's self is part of the bad UX no? –  tim.baker Dec 1 '13 at 23:24

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