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Accessibility and Usability Forum

International Usability/Forms

 3:38 pm on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

I am looking for the best practice for usability in webforms for formatting phonenumbers, addresses, and names.

Most of our users will be US or Canada but 10% may be from overseas. Is there a website or can you share tips on developing forms. Our backend is oracle ad each feild is a string, but I want it to be familiar and a standard in the presentation layer.

I was thinking besides validation client and server to have the form set up like:

[first] [middle] [last]
[address 1]
[adress 2]
[city] [state] [zip]

[international county] <--- What would this be? County/area not sure but I know there is a correct name for this

phone [###][###][####]

Is there any other important country fields I need to capture? Or should I leave the phone to be [##########] or [###-###-####]?

Any examples or suggestions? I am sure others will benefit in this?





 7:11 pm on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

[first] [middle] [last]
[address 1]
[adress 2]
[city] [state] [zip]

[international county] <--- What would this be? County/area not sure but I know there is a correct name for this

phone [###][###][####]

The best internation approach for this is probably:

[family name]
[given name]
[address 1]
[address 2]
[postal code]


That has the least risk of being misunderstood by international users.

[edited by: DrDoc at 7:12 pm (utc) on Mar. 17, 2008]


 7:17 pm on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

"Last name", "surname" don't have the same meaning in all cultures. In Asia, for example, people use what you would call their "last name" as their "first" name.

"Family name" is a better and more universal representation.

Make sure to call the "state" field "state/province", since most countries don't use "states" (including Canada). It should also be optional.

"ZIP" is a bad name. It stands for "Zone Improvement Plan" has very little meaning to anyone outside the US. "ZIP Code" is slightly better, but still bad. "Postal code" is universally understood.

... and don't forget to ask for the country ;)

And the phone number should not be enforced in length or anything. Make if freetext. In the US and Canada it is always ###-###-#### (with a possible extension, which you had not left room for). But in other countries the phone number is vastly different. In Sweden, for example, it is 2-4 digits for the area code, and 5-7 for the number itself. Denmark doesn't use area codes period.


 8:04 pm on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Here [geonames.org] is an interesting resource.

If you look at how they break things down, it could be useful. They use a parent/child system of increasing granular specifiers. I'm pretty sure Google Maps does something similar.

I'm working on a similar issue now, but it won't be decided for some time.


 2:49 am on May 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

I use a JS function fired by onblur to check for a recognizable format and reformat it the way I want, or to leave it as-is if it can't find one. With 40 formats to pick from and multiple variations, it does a pretty fair job. An ATT rep found it and requested a copy for their use!

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