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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?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

There is an extensive article related to this topic by LukeW. http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2008/06/international-address-fields-in-web-forms.php

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1  
+1, but would be useful to summarise key points from the linked material in your answer, so it's within stack. –  Kris C May 7 '12 at 22:01

Why bother using more than one field for the actual address?

Best practise are the following fields:

Name ………………………………

Address ………………………………

City ………………………………

State ………………………………

Postal/Zip Code ………………………………

Country ………………………………

That's it. :o)

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The concept of state is irrelevant to most European countries. Unless you actually live in a major city, a European resident wouldn't know what to enter in this field. If you could indicate which fields are mandatory, it might help –  Dónal May 7 '12 at 21:38
    
You are right. Although in Germany most people know what to enter here this information is not neccessary to deliver the post. I would not show this field either. To keep the conversion rate of your form up you should only display mandatory fields anyway. A nice side effect is that you avoid additional noise caused by an "mandatory" indicator. –  Steffen Kastner May 16 '12 at 8:24
    
This feels very opinion based. Where's the research or experience? Also this contradicts valid research: not all countries uses states, and "Name" is too vague. what if you need to enter both an employee's name, and a company name (on line2)? –  user1884155 Sep 22 at 9:58

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