Does the Website Have an Appropriate Amount of Contact Information?


Most websites are interested in communicating with their users. Usually, this means that websites offer paths of communication that at the very least include phone numbers and email addresses. High or highest quality websites will usually offer many ways by which users can get in touch, such as email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses. Sometimes, this contact information is even organized by department and provides the names of individuals to contact.

The types and amount of contact information needed depend on the type of page and the type of website. Contact information is extremely important for YMYL websites. Be extra critical of shopping websites. Most stores have contact information or contact processes prominently featured. Sometimes this information is listed as "customer service." Users often need to contact stores for questions and returns. Stores usually work very hard to win users' trust by offering many ways to contact them. Some retailers have special sections of their website devoted to customer service.

Some kinds of websites need less detailed and a smaller amount of contact information for their purpose. For example, humor websites may not need the kind of detailed contact information we would expect an online banking website to have. Websites that require a lower level of trust should still have the name of the company, a phone number and/or an email address, at a minimum.

Find the contact information associated with the website. Usually, homepages have a "contact us" link. There should be clear contact information somewhere on the website. Sometimes, the contact information is located on the "about us" page and sometimes it is displayed directly on the homepage. Please explore the website if you cannot find a "contact us" page. Sometimes you will find the contact information on a "corporate site" link. Be a detective.

The website check question you will answer in the rating task is: Does the website have sufficient contact information for its purpose?


Sufficient Contact Information?


Example


Explanation

sufficient

Sufficient Contact Info 1

This page provides the street address and phone number of the company, as well as email addresses and phone numbers (and even names) of various people/departments in the company.

sufficient

Sufficient Contact Info 2

Sufficient Contact Info 3

Sufficient Contact Info 4

These three examples are customer service pages on popular and well-regarded stores/shopping sites that help customers contact the store. Notice that these pages use a variety of approaches, from giving users a list of phone numbers to providing interactive features that navigate users through the customer service process.

sufficient

Sufficient Contact Info 5

In this example, there is a "Company Site" link in the upper right hand corner (we added the blue box to help you find it). Clicking on that link gives the corporate site homepage: Morningstar corporate page

From the corporate homepage, there is a “Global Contacts” page under the “Company” tab:
"Global Contacts"

tab

Clicking on this link gives the “Global Contacts” page:
Morningstar global

contacts page
. This rating task requires raters to be detectives. (Note: this is an example of a highly reputable financial site—we definitely do not want this type of page to get low quality ratings!)

sufficient

Sufficient Contact Info 6

In this example, there is a blank email form with no indication where it would go. Although there is no other contact information anywhere on the website, this is a humor website and contact information is not very important. We will consider the contact information to be sufficient for this type of page.

sufficient

Sufficient Contact Info 7

In this example, the landing page does not have a link to contact information, or even a “home” or logo link to get to the homepage. However, as you saw in Section 9.1, modifying the URL shows us that this page is on the Cornell University Library site:
library.cornell.edu This page has many tabs which serve to provide various types of contact information: About Us, Libraries, Hours and Maps, and Help.

insufficient

Insufficient Contact Info 1

This is a blank email form with no indication where it would go. There is absolutely no other contact information anywhere on the website. Since this is an online store where users would enter credit card information, contact information is extremely important. This is a YMYL page.

insufficient

Insufficient Contact Info 2

There is no contact information at all anywhere on this website. Since this site offers medical information, contact information is extremely important. This is a YMYL page.

insufficient

Insufficient Contact Info 3

There is no contact information at all anywhere on this website. Since this site offers medical information, contact information is extremely important. (Note: there is also absolutely no information about who is responsible for the content of this website.) This is a YMYL page.


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