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I'm designing a site for a service, which's main function is to function as a database. I have had to anonymize some details. The main user journey involves landing on the site (home page), searching for a page (search results page) and then getting in touch with that particular page (details page).

On the details page I have designed a CTA to 'get in touch' for that particular page you are on. This has come out as a key focal point in continuing the experience beyond the main site. Beneath the CTA there is also a box with other contact details (a phone number, for example). Below is part of the summary section at the top of the page.

enter image description here

The idea behind the CTA is that it will open a contact form and send an email to a page-specific email address that pulls in the data. The site pulls data from several sources, and there's an issue in that not all the sources provide exactly the same details, with the contact email being a prime example.

My question is:

Should the CTA 'Get in touch' always be shown (in different states?), even if there is no email in the data?

OR

Should the CTA be hidden when there is no email in the data?

  • why do you want users to get in touch from an specific page? Why is it more useful than a general feedback section with an input to specify the section? why some sources do not provide an email? should they? – Alejandro Veltri May 30 '15 at 20:42
  • @rewobs - a page is specific to an item and users need to get in touch with that specific page to register for that service, it's not for feedback. Some sources don't provide emails because of the lack of quality in the data coming through. – J4G Jun 1 '15 at 8:47
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+50

It's hard to determine from the scenario you've provided by I'd gather if getting in touch or contacting someone is an "expected behavior" then you should display the get in touch button in various states going as far to add a reason why you cannot get in touch when no data is shown. For example A friendly message similar to how Olark does inactive operators. enter image description here

From a user perspective, if contacting someone is a core function/aspect of the site, something that is expected, you should add a reason why they cannot peform that action.

If the contact us, falls in part of a secondary action then you should omit the button completely, ie, if they have no ability to contact, hide it completely.

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First thing first: you've a data driven process. Thus, you'll need to improve the data display and the process where the data was created. Even if the data to be used is previous to your current app deploymnet, you need to do this ASAP. Working with data in many different formats brings no benefit at all, only problems.

Second, you need to give consistence to all your existing data. There can't be random inputs, you need to clean up your current data so you can actually use it for your actions.

Now, on to your action: it's possible that you end with some "dirty" data. If you have some way to identify your users, now it's a great moment to invite them to enter their info in the way you need it.

But it's still possible that some users are unidentified, or that they still have incomplete information. Then you shouldn't display your CTA for those users, because you'll be creating an element of distress. Instead, use something like this (pseudocode warning)

if $email = true
   display $cta
elseif
   $is_user and $email = ''
      display $fix_data
else
   display $signup_form

Just don't create frustration flows, always use the data you have in a proper way, and display content based on that data. There's a short but interesting article at http://pty.pe/four-horsemen-bad-ux-frustration-confusion-disappointment-distraction/ that relates to your problem and how you need to avoid these "4 Horsemen of Bad UX": Frustration, Confusion, Disappointment, and Distraction. Adding non-affordable actions to your current flow will lead to all 4 of them!

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The "Call to Action" should always be a call to an available action. If the action is not available because, for example, there is no email to contact, then there is no action to call.

That is a good way to guide yourself where to add affordances to call to a certain action and where you shouldn't.

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