REQ: Suggestions for best-practices or research on single-field address forms

22 Dec 2009 - 12:01am
4 years ago
6 replies
923 reads
jpb
2009

Hi All,

I want to replace the typical 5-field address form (Street 1, Street
2, City, State, Zip) with a single field that takes a string and sends
it to google for geocoding and error-checking. Technically its a big
win, and it'll greatly simplify the amount of stuff in the address
form, but I'm concerned that users are comfortable with those 5 fields
and may be confused by the single-field address form that lacks (e.g.)
the familiar "state" dropdown.

Does anyone know of research or best practices regarding usability and
single-field addresses?

Thanks,
j

--
_________________________
@jonathanpberger
http://www.marketpublique.com
http://www.jonathanpberger.com
718.930.2165
This email is: [*] bloggable [ ] ask first [ ] private

Comments

22 Dec 2009 - 3:19am
Dimiter Simov
2006

You seem to be mixing several things here: 1) how users enter and edit
address info, 2) how users view the available address, 3) how you store the
address info, and 4) how you use the stored data.

What we do in our CRM application on these points is:
1) Users enter and edit address info through a multi-field form in which
street, city, zip... are clearly separated. This is easier for everyone: we
do not need to try to parse the addresses, and users know what is what, and
are less likely to enter addresses that will later make no sense to them.

2) We show the address as a single field, so it is easy to read and copy if
necessary. The USA White House address would appear like this:
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
United States of America

3) The database stores each separate field but also has a combined Full
address field that collects the data from the individual fields. This gives
users the freedom to make various queries based on address info; for
example, see all people located in Boston.

4) We have an inbuilt feature that can feed the full address to mapping
services. For example, the White House address is fed to the search field in
Google maps as: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500, United
States of America.

I do not think you should replace the 5-field address form, just put
together the address info into an additional field.

Dimiter Simov (Jimmy)
Lucrat Ltd. www.lucrat.net
Netage Solutions Inc. www.netagesolutions.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
jonathan berger
Sent: Tue, Dec 22, 2009 7:01
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] REQ: Suggestions for best-practices or research on
single-field address forms

Hi All,

I want to replace the typical 5-field address form (Street 1, Street
2, City, State, Zip) with a single field that takes a string and sends
it to google for geocoding and error-checking. Technically its a big
win, and it'll greatly simplify the amount of stuff in the address
form, but I'm concerned that users are comfortable with those 5 fields
and may be confused by the single-field address form that lacks (e.g.)
the familiar "state" dropdown.

Does anyone know of research or best practices regarding usability and
single-field addresses?

Thanks,
j

--
_________________________
@jonathanpberger
http://www.marketpublique.com
http://www.jonathanpberger.com
718.930.2165
This email is: [*] bloggable [ ] ask first [ ] private
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09:36:00

22 Dec 2009 - 9:43am
whitneyq
2010

Several years ago, we tested a form for a small international
organization, using volunteer teams in several countries.

This was too small to be anything but anecdotal evidence, but:

- Users in Europe were comfortable with a single address box. They
commented that their addresses don't always fit into a standard
format, and that this let them enter elements of the address in the
order they were used to.

- Users in the US were confused and definitely didn't like the single
box, even a multiline box for the street address, leaving city,
state/province and postal code in separate fields.

There have been several discussions here and elsewhere about the
standardisation of postal addresses, which are much more uniform in
the US than in many other countries.

Whitney

--
Whitney Quesenbery
www.wqusability.com

Storytelling for User Experience Design
www.rosenfeldmedia.com/books/storytelling

On Tue, Dec 22, 2009 at 12:01 AM, jonathan berger
<jonathanpberger at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi All,
>
> I want to replace the typical 5-field address form (Street 1, Street
> 2, City, State, Zip) with a single field that takes a string and sends
> it to google for geocoding and error-checking. Technically its a big
> win, and it'll greatly simplify the amount of stuff in the address
> form, but I'm concerned that users are comfortable with those 5 fields
> and may be confused by the single-field address form that lacks (e.g.)
> the familiar "state" dropdown.
>
> Does anyone know of research or best practices regarding usability and
> single-field addresses?
>
> Thanks,
> j
>
> --
> _________________________
> @jonathanpberger
> http://www.marketpublique.com
> http://www.jonathanpberger.com
> 718.930.2165
> This email is:     [*] bloggable     [ ] ask first       [ ] private
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

22 Dec 2009 - 10:26am
Jayson Elliot
2008

Your response was "I don't think you should do it, because we do it a
different way."
The OP asked for best practices (although I despise that phrase) or
research. Can you provide some empirical data or rationale that would
support your assertions?

On Tue, Dec 22, 2009 at 3:19 AM, Dimiter Simov <jimmy at lucrat.net> wrote:

>
> ...I do not think you should replace the 5-field address form, just put
> together the address info into an additional field...
>
>
> Dimiter Simov (Jimmy)
> Lucrat Ltd. www.lucrat.net
> Netage Solutions Inc. www.netagesolutions.com
>
>

22 Dec 2009 - 10:34am
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Dec 22, 2009, at 10:26 AM, Jayson Elliot wrote:

> The OP asked for best practices (although I despise that phrase) or
> research.

So, what exactly are "best practices" or "research"? What qualifies?

If I run a study with 30 teenage college students in Milwaukee, would
that be research that would be better than Dimiter's advice?

If I collect up the current designs of the top 100 retail sites, is
what the majority does what Jonathan (aka 'The OP') should do?

I believe that neither of these things are useful, when faced with
your own design.

In my opinion, what Jonathan should do is find out what experiences
people on this list have had with their own designs, much like what
Dimiter & Whitney have volunteered, then prototype something up and
try it with his users completing their tasks. The results of that will
trump any "best practices" or "research" that is available.

Jared

22 Dec 2009 - 10:55am
Dimiter Simov
2006

Jayson,

I am sorry if I left room for interpreting what I said as meaning “do not do
it, because we do it in a different way” – I was giving a piece of advice
based on our good practice. (I do not like the term “best practice”; it
implies that nothing better can be done.)

Some reasons our practice is good:

1. Users are familiar with address info coming in two shapes. 90+ percent
of our users come from Outlook.

2. User tests showed that users have no problems using addresses in this
format.

3. We have not had any complaints or requests (aside from “let’s add a
third street address field, which we easily did).

4. This address format provides usage flexibility – users can use both
the full addresses or just parts of them.

5. We help users standardize their addresses – our clients often have
several offices in several countries.

Best

Dimiter Simov (Jimmy)

Lucrat Ltd. www.lucrat.net <http://www.lucrat.net/>

Netage Solutions Inc. www.netagesolutions.com
<http://www.netagesolutions.com/>

From: Jayson Elliot [mailto:jayson.elliot at gmail.com]
Sent: Tue, Dec 22, 2009 17:27

Your response was "I don't think you should do it, because we do it a
different way."
The OP asked for best practices (although I despise that phrase) or
research. Can you provide some empirical data or rationale that would
support your assertions?

On Tue, Dec 22, 2009 at 3:19 AM, Dimiter Simov <jimmy at lucrat.net> wrote:

...I do not think you should replace the 5-field address form, just put
together the address info into an additional field...

Dimiter Simov (Jimmy)
Lucrat Ltd. www.lucrat.net
Netage Solutions Inc. www.netagesolutions.com

22 Dec 2009 - 3:31pm
Anonymous

The single line form wouldn't support the auto-fill functionality.

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