Input Structures for International Addresses
Yesterday, Luke Wroblewski covered the intricacies of international address input structures for forms. After covering common layouts for American addresses and generic international formats, the article goes on to describe the variations within these constructs. One of the great points made by the article include the observation:
Through years of experience with mailing and postal systems, people have a pretty concrete idea of what constitutes an address block. This common understanding is so definitive that eyetracking data suggests, once people begin filling in a set of input fields that make up an address, they often cease looking at their labels.
Additionally, Wroblewski points out:
Luckily there is a fair amount of commonality between the elements that make up an address across the world. In most countries, the destination, or recipient, in an address structure progresses from most to least specific – Russia and Iran are notable exceptions.
The article provides a very good overview on the variations and how to manage them; certainly worth a read.
User Expectations Impact on Design
Last week, Jared Spool wrote about various user expectations for web experiences, particularly in reference to login and search modules on web pages. In their research on travel sites a key finding was that location had a relatively negligible impact as opposed to presentation. The central purpose of the article was to evaluate the reliance that designers should place on these expectations, challenging “not every de facto standard is the optimal way to design something.” Nonetheless, it is important to be aware of these expectations and to be able to design for learnability in the new design.