I'm developing a website that displays information about European festivals, including their addresss. Given that different countries use different address formats, I'm wondering what is the best "one size fits all" form that I can use to capture the address data. Obviously I could use something like:
Address Line 1 _____________ Address Line 2 _____________ Address Line 3 _____________ Address Line 4 _____________ Country* <choose from drop down list>
(Fields marked with * are mandatory)
The above is not very satisfactory as it allows the user to enter the address in an almost completely unstructured way. More specifically, it will make it difficult for me to extract the town/city and post code (if applicable), which I will need to do.
I want to make the form as structured as possible, while still accommodating all possible European address formats (within reason). The best I've come up with so far is:
Address Line 1 _____________ Town/City* _____________ Address Line 3 _____________ Post Code _____________ Country* <choose from drop down list>
This will force the user to enter the nearest town/city and country, which should allow me to plot the location on a map. I think the concept of town/city is pretty much universal, and if the country uses post codes, I can capture that information too.
However, it seems like this problem must have been considered at least a million times before. Are there any "best practices" that I should be following?