Alternatives to HTMail

Issue

  • HTMail allows people who own ITS-provided AFS personal and group websites to receive email when a visitor to their website fills out an HTML form  
  • HTMail is outdated technology and HTMail forms are a significant source of spam email
  • ITS recommends that everyone who is still using HTMail on their websites move to one of the alternatives described below

Resolution

Choose from one of these options:

Option 1: mailto form action

Advantages:

  • Quickest and simplest option to set up for people who have an existing HTMail form
  • This is the only option that allows you to keep a form on your website; the other options require you to replace the form with a link that takes the visitor to a different site

Disadvantages:

  • Requires extra steps on the part of the person visiting the website
  • The values website visitors enter into the form fields are hard to read in the email message that gets sent; the email you receive will contain something that looks like this: name=Mark&from=uniqname%40umich.edu&subject=Kapitel+1+Grammatik+Pre-Quiz&score=0&to=bjensen%40umich.edu
  • Using a mailto form action does not provide all of the functionality of HTMail; the HTMail toccme, successURL, template, and template_source fields in your form will be ignored

Instructions:

Edit your existing HTMail form

  • In the FORM tag, the ACTION attribute will have a value that looks like http://cgi.www.umich.edu/cgi-bin/htmail/htmail-test-address@umich.edu
  • Replace the first part of the ACTION value ( http://cgi.www.umich.edu/cgi-bin/htmail/ ) with mailto: so that the final result looks like mailto:htmail-test-address@umich.edu   

When website visitors submit the form, a new email message compose window will open on their computer and they will need to click "Send" in order to send the message.

References:

Option 2: Google Forms

Advantages:

  • Simple with a lot of features, including restricting the form to people at U-M

Disadvantages:

  • The form is not on your website
  • Emails you receive when someone fills out the form will not contain the actual responses.  You'll need to click on a link in the email to see the visitor's responses

Instructions:

Replace the HTMail form on your website with a link to a Google Form

To get an email notifying you when someone fills out the form, go to the Responses tab, click the More symbol, and select "Get email notifications for new responses".  The email will contain a link that allows you to view the responses

Option 3: Qualtrics

Advantages:

  • The option with the most features and flexibility

Disadvantages:

  • The form is not on your website
  • Most complicated option to set up

Instructions:

Replace with HTMail form on your website with a link to a Qualtrics Survey

To get an email containing the responses when someone fills out the form:

  1. Go to the Workflows tab for your the Qualtrics survey you created for your website
  2. Click the "Create a Workfllow" button
  3. Select the template "Start a workflow when a survey response is received or updated"
  4. In the "Workflow editor" you should see a box saying "Survey response".  Click the "+" button below that box and select "Task"
  5. Select the "Email" app
  6. Enter the email address(es) you want responses to be sent to, enter a subject line, and put something in the body of the message (you can't leave the body blank).  Responses will appear in your email message immediately after whatever you put in the message body.
  7. In the "Options" section, check "Include Response Report" and "Show Full Question Text"
  8. Click the "Save" button
  9. In the upper right corner of the Qualtrics workflow tab/window, click the "X" to exit the workflow and return to your Qualtrics survey

Additional Information

  • ITS plans to turn off HTMail for all websites at some point in the future, although there is no date for this yet
  • Contact webmaster@umich.edu with any questions or requests for assistance

Need additional information or assistance? Contact the ITS Service Center.

Details

Article ID: 8647
Created
Mon 8/8/22 12:23 PM
Modified
Tue 9/13/22 3:23 PM