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Right now I ask for:
I am about to add Country to the list, but should I modify any of the prompts in the form to fit what my visitors might expect to see?
I honestly didn't expect to get this kind of traffic so soon, but I think it's pretty cool!
The issue it's causing is that I have a directory of members that lists their info by State so I will need to break that down by country as well, but is there a way to find standard abbreviations so that I can substitiute the full name of the State or Providence? (Not for US states, but abbreviations for UK, Canada and Australia)
This list states the country names (official short names in English) in alphabetical order as given in ISO 3166-1 and the corresponding ISO 3166-1-alpha-2 code elements.
English Country Names and Code Elements
I work with hundreds of forms that are designed for International use. Here's a basic format that I utilize. Asterisks indicate required fields.
* Company Name
* Contact First Name:
* Contact Last Name:
* Address 1:
* State: (Dropdown)
State Outside US:
* Zip/Postal Code:
* Country: (Dropdown)
* Telephone: (Include Country Code)
* How did you hear about us?
Search Term Used:
The State and Country fields are dropdown menus. The State dropdown is for the U.S. and they are listed alphabetically, spelled out, with the two letter code being passed as a value to the database.
The Country dropdown is prepopulated with the entire list of countries. We've listed the top ten countries at the top of the list (based on client statistics) and then the rest are alphabetically ordered.
Both State and Country dropdowns are required and the first choice (Choose One) is disallowed which forces them to make a selection from both.
The U.S. State dropdown's second option after Choose One is "Outside U.S.". for those outside the U.S.
I also spell out the state and country names whenever possible. We then use the two letter codes when passing values.
Numeric Representation of Dates and Time
P.S.S. When dealing with stuff like this, the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is your friend. ;)
I don't know if it will help to design a form for capturing information. But it sure helps when you have to ship something. As long as you provide a means for your customer to give you the information, you can manually rearrange it on the shipping label if need be.
Some countries include a county (or similar geographic region) in their addresses along with the city and province/state.
one thing - as a european i find it frustrating that the "state" field is mandatory. here in belgium there is no such thing as a state
postal code town
Even worse are the ones that let you enter everything, and then after Canada is entered, displays a new blank form (in Canadian format) which forces me to enter everything all over again.
* State: (Dropdown)
State Outside US:
You have, however, neglected to ask for my village or my county!
I always find forms which leave it open to me to fill in the best. I know how my address is best written - so provide me with 4 lines for my address, 1 line for zip/postal code, and one drop-down for my country!
So I guess the best idea would be to have the country selection first, then dynamically change the form depending on the choice. Then drop all of the data into the database.
What about printing the data later? If I store my data in the fields 'street' 'city' 'state' 'zip' 'country' regardless of what country you choose but just because that's how my fields are already set up, could anyone see an issue if I were to create a standard output formatted like:
city, state zip
Of course the fields would have a NULL value if they were not used and I could kill the comma if it isn't needed. But isn't that the basic format for all mailing addresses? Is anyone different?
Name (don't forget to allow for two surnames)
Street, Number in street (could be complex, for example 29, 3º, izda which means street number 29, 3rd floor, door on the left (izquierda))
María Martínez Velázquez
Calle Quintana, 29, 3º izda
01001 Pueblo Pequeño
This is pretty cool, I'm so glad I asked this question. So please give me more address examples for your country so I can put this all together. Once I finish I'll do my best to find a way to share!
Filling out a US centric form that only has an added country is always a pain. And the order that locals expect their address to be written in should not be determined by the website.
Eg. should the ZIP code be before or after the city?
Should the street number be before or after the street?
Is there a street name?
Should ZIP codes be numeric only?
Should street numbers be numeric only?
Are ZIP code 5 characters long?
Should the country be prefixed to the zip code?
Should a state/province (even if it exists) be part of an address label?
Note: it all depends is the answer.
To make things easy: just provide some lines of freeform and store and print it that way, at the very least for countries you're not familiar with all the quirks they might need.
If you do wan tto parse the information to process later on, fine ask it more structured, but for sending stuff: use the address as provided by the customer.
I was definately thinking along the lines of defaulting to the country that matches the IP and allowing a change. My thoughts were, what if I'm at something like PubCon and find out about the site? Then I go to my hotel and try to sign up and it only gave me address fields for the current country I was in, that wouldn't be good.
It will definately be a default for the form. I'm also building a 'popularity' field into my countrys, so for each person that signs up from a given country that country gets one point. Then in the drop down for country, the ones with the highest 5 scores will be at the top and everything else will be alphebetical below. I'll have to see how that works before I can decide if I love the idea.
I was definately thinking along the lines of defaulting to the country that matches the IP and allowing a change.
Keep it simple. Just present the user with the Country dropdown before the form. Once they select their country, the form dynamically populates below.
I'm also building a 'popularity' field into my countrys, so for each person that signs up from a given country that country gets one point. Then in the drop down for country, the ones with the highest 5 scores will be at the top and everything else will be alphebetical below. I'll have to see how that works before I can decide if I love the idea.
Well, I can't wait for you to decide. I've already decided - it's a great idea! I'm going to go one step further and put the top ten and then alpha.
Our method now is to review the statistics and pick the top ten referring countries (live visitors) and populate on that order.
[edited by: pageoneresults at 3:22 pm (utc) on May 12, 2006]
Right now they are pure text fields with no filtering (Except the usual filters for SQL injections) which is why I started asking this question. I am getting people from other countries that are making the form work, but I want to make the form work for them as well. (if that makes any sense)
Visitors wanting something delivered do know best how to write the address so the local postal services actually deliver the stuff to them appropriately.
Some need guidance. But a dropdown list containing ONLY US state names or any other nonsense validation will cost you.
Example: Germany uses 5 digit post codes, Switzerland only 4. At least 5 tinmes when ordering something from Germany I had to prepend a leading Zero just to pass the "test".
Reason #1 I don't let international customers have seperate billing/shipping addresses. Getting the billing address verified can often be challenging enough and there's less fraud this way.
Reason #2 Less fields and confusions for my main customers (US/Canada) = higher conversions.
I have my check out set up like this...
Please answer the following quick survery (optional, just 3 questions) and select your country.
PAGE 2-A (US/Canada)
Enter shipping info
PAGE 3-A (US/Canada)
Enter billing info
PAGE 4-A (US/Canada)
Confirm and Submit
PAGE 2-B (International)
Enter billing address (also shipping)
PAGE 3-B (International)
Confirm and Submit
For example, Ireland doesn't have postal codes, so if you have a mandatory ZIP/post code field, you won't have any Irish customers.
UK addresses don't officially have any state/county, just a post town, so you can't require people from the UK to enter both a town and a county -- people get very tired of entering Town: London, county: London.
AA;Armed Forces - Americas
AE;Armed Forces - Europe
AP;Armed Forces - Pacific
DC;District of Columbia
FM;Federated States of Micronesia
MP;Northern Mariana Islands
VI;Virgin Islands - U.S.
Just for your convenience, I'll list the Canadian ones:
NL;Newfoundland and Labrador
PE;Prince Edward Island
Sorry, I don't have Australia.
You mentioned putting the top few countries at the top of the list and the the rest alphabetically. I do that, but also include the top ones a second time within the alpha list just in case the user jumps down without noticing them at the top.
In the format:
POSITION HELD IN BUSINESS (optional line)
BUSINESS NAME (optional line)
STREET NUMBER/STREET (OR POST OFFICE BOX NUMBER)
SUBURB (not CITY/TOWN), STATE ABBREVIATION
POSTCODE (FOUR DIGIT NUMBER) - goes on the lower right-hand corner of the envelope, rather than directly under the suburb, for hand written envelopes; for typed envelopes put the Postcode beside the state abbreviation.
External territories (islands) usually have their names written in full in place of the suburb and state.