Periodically check your website is working as intended
Recently we were contacted by a customer who was concerned that their Joomla! website's Contact Form had stopped working.
At first we thought that maybe the reason was a conflict between the Contacts component and a recently installed 3rd party extension.
One reason to backup your website before installing extensions is in case of such unintended consequences.
There was indeed in this instance an unintended consequence, but not as a result of a conflict between component and 3rd party extension.
Rather, as a result of how visitors were interacting with the website!
Put yourself in your visitor's shoes!
The website was using one of several available 3rd party extensions designed to address the requirements of the EU e-Privacy Directive.
This directive came into effect in 2012. It requires website owners operating in the EU to obtain consent from users located in the EU before implementing cookies to capture online visitor information.
The 3rd party extension was active and was indeed adversely impacting on the operation of the Contact Form.
Both the Contact Form and 3rd party extension were behaving as they should.
It transpired that visitor behaviour was what was resulting in the Contact Form not working!
Some visitors were ignoring the 3rd party extension's prompt to ACCEPT or DECLINE the loading of cookies.
In so doing they were inadvertantly disabling the Contact Form!
On the face of it the Contact Form was at fault.
It could of course have been the 3rd party extension that was not working correctly.
Both were in fact working.
It was the behaviour of visitors who ignored the prompt that was causing the Contact Form to stop working.
Whilst our investigation threw up some practical ways to address this issue, what it really highlighted was the importance of periodically:
- checking that your website is working as intended,
- visiting your website with a fresh pair of eyes,
- putting yourself in the mind (if not shoes) of website visitors.