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Mobile users want to call you

I won’t start now and telling you again: Yes, the web is moving to mobile, layouts have to be responsive and so on. You know it already. What you might don’t know: Mobile users want to call you!

Still, a smartphone is a phone. One of its main purposes is to gather information by calling people. So, even if they go to your website, they might want to have a personal contact, or as webdesignledger points it out:

Many visitors head to your website just to find your phone number, so make it prominent on your homepage. The top right corner is usually best – or, I’ve also seen it down in the footer. Regardless, put it up there!

Call me

But, these days, we are mobile. So, there should be a better way than copy&paste to call you. And there it is! Usually you write something like

+123 123 123 someone@example.com

With one click, you can write an Email, you just click the mailto:-Link. Isn’t there something similar for phone numbers? There is:

0123 123 123 someone@example.com

So, how to use it? You see the difference between the number which is shown and the number in the “tel:”part of the URI. The URI scheme for “tel:” is well defined in RFC5341, RFC3966 and RFC280.

Don’t forget: The internet is a global institution. You’re visitors might want to call you from Malaysia, Japan or Russia. In order to do so, the number format needs to be represented in a global format. As RFC3699 states it:

All phone numbers MUST use the global form unless they cannot be represented as such.

Well, there are some exceptions, and you can also use local numbers, but I think, since the internet is a global one, we should stick to global numbers or again, as the RFC3699 says:

Local numbers SHOULD NOT be used for several reasons. Local numbers require that the originator and recipient are configured appropriately so that they can insert and recognize the correct context descriptors. Since there is no algorithm to pick the same descriptor independently, labelling numbers with their context increases the chances of misconfiguration so that valid identifiers are rejected by mistake. The algorithm to select descriptors was chosen so that accidental collisions would be rare, but they cannot be ruled out.

A global phone numer has to start with a ‘+’, as it shows in the Request for Comments.

Okay, but enought of the RFCs. Its pretty easy:


will call the phone numer 0123123123 in Germany.

Write me

photo credit: Curtis Gregory Perry cc
photo credit: Curtis Gregory Perry cc

But, mobile devices are so much more. You can also write SMS. And maybe, you want to provide such an link too. And yes, you can:

Write me a SMS

Again, its a very simple and clear way, how to do it. While “tel:” opens your phone, “sms:” will open your SMS editor. And also for this URI Scheme, we have a well defined documentation: RFC5724.

You remember “body” you may have used in the “mailto:”-scheme? It also exists for “sms:”! So, you might want to create a Complain Message Service, where you’re client can instantly complain. You could use something like

Complain instantly!

When the editor opens, half of the message is already written and maybe your customer looses some of his anger even before getting in touch!


There are quite some possibilites, to integrate your website into the mobile device of your visitors and it would be a waste not to use them. Especially the “sms:” URI scheme can be used for a lot of purposes. With its “body”-field, you can easily create interactions with mobile payment platforms and other SMS services! I wonder, why you rarely see this opportunity spread, but I guess, since mobile grows, these functions will become more and more inevitable.

photo credit:

About the author

Seine erste Webseite hat David Remer 1998 in HTML verfasst. Wenig später war er fasziniert von DHTML und JavaScript. Nach jahrelanger Freelancerei arbeitete er zunächst für Inpsyde und ist heute Entwickler bei Automattic. Außerdem hat er das Buch "WordPress für Entwickler" verfasst.

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