Thursday, September 23, 2010

Clickable Phone Numbers

Now that we have the ability to click-to-call with Office Communicator, it’s natural that we come to expect to be able to click phone numbers wherever we see them!

Just like web links and email links in the past, what we really need is a ubiquitous way to identify phone numbers and make them clickable…

tel: to the Rescue

In Windows, where http: makes a web link clickable, and mailto: makes an email address clickable, tel: makes a phone number clickable.

So looking at my screenshot below, the first number is just text, the second number has “tel:” in front of it so is now clickable, and the third has the visible text different from the hyperlink value – so the user doesn’t see the “tel”.

clip_image001

The conversation window is what came up when I clicked on the link.  It gives you the second chance to actually dial, because as I’ve shown, the visible text can be different from the actual hyperlink text.  The number could show 905… but really be 900!

Applications can render their phone numbers this way, so that the consuming application, in this case Outlook on Windows, can display the number as clickable.

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