Ideally web sites should be up on a 24 by 7 basis. This is however a difficult and often an expensive proposition. Today I saw on the ACM Portal site an innovative alternative.
The form details the areas of the site that are down, and, more importantly, contains a field for filling an email address. When the site is up, the form promises that we'll get notified by email.
This approach has a number of advantages.
- It offers users an valuable actionable alternative, considerably better than asking them to check the site again at a later unspecified time.
- It lessens the load on the site, because users will not repeatedly check the site to see if it has come back up.
- It is cheap to setup. All that is needed is a form that stores email addresses in a file.
- It provides a measure of people who care about the web site's content enough to ask for a notification.
- It can be implemented in advance of planned or unplanned downtime.