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I'm working on a project at the moment using an OOTB solution. We have an address search facility where a user will neter there postcode, click 'search' and is then presented with a list of addresses. The developer has chosen to display the options as a series of radio buttons. I have suggested it would be far better to use a drop down list as that is the de facto way of doing it as far as I'm concerned.

The main issue is the number of radio buttons likely to be presented, my postcode returns 33 addresses, which means 33 radio buttons on a screen.

To change to radio buttons will incur a cost for the project now so I need to decide whether I should pursue this further or not.

What do you guys think?

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What the bleep is an OOTB solution? Please don't use abbreviations that may be unknown to a large number of people. –  Marjan Venema Sep 11 '12 at 14:42
    
I believe OOTB is an acronym for "out of the box". –  Matt Sep 11 '12 at 15:46

3 Answers 3

As you've already identified the radio button approach will get unwieldy when there are a large number of possible addresses. It will become increasingly difficult for the user to scan and locate their address. It will also take up a variable amount of space on the screen.

A drop down will occupy the same amount of space on the screen regardless of how many addresses there actually are. The drawback of a drop down is that only one address is shown which might confuse the novice user.

Perhaps a better alternative would be a fixed height list box. This has the advantage of showing several addresses (all of them if there are only a few). It also means that you can have more control over the format of your addresses (splitting them over several lines for example) which makes them more readable and gives you control over the width of the list box as well as the height.

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Completely agree with the fixed height list box option. Far easier to navigate around within that type of control than it is within a dropdown. Plus it means the addresses can wrap over several lines. With a dropdown if you have a really long address it will push the width of the dropdown out really wide, which is particularly unwieldy. –  JonW Sep 11 '12 at 9:46
    
Excellent, thank you for these. I'm new to the field so this has been a big help. Will there be any accessibility concerns with regarding to using a fixed height list box? I.e. would potentially having two scroll bars (one within the page and one within the list box) cause any accessibility issues? –  simon Sep 11 '12 at 10:11
    
@simon It shouldn't have any accessibility issues as you should be able to navigate the list using the arrow keys. –  ChrisF Sep 11 '12 at 10:16

We've recently started using this pretty funky address lookup tool from Postcode Anywhere. Haven't heard of them before, but they seem pretty established. The list of addresses is presented in list format and updates after each character is typed. http://www.postcodeanywhere.co.uk/demos/postal-code-address-validation.aspx

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This appears only to work for the US. Certainly, postcode>address matching for the UK is rather expensive. –  Andrew Leach Sep 11 '12 at 10:26
    
It does work for UK addresses, but it's horribly inaccessible unfortunately (keyboard navigation within it is clunky - it doesn't scroll the list view when you start using the arrow keys for example). Also there is no fallback if you don't have script enabled - it just doesn't work. Also the autocomplete only fills with 8 items even if there are plenty more (until you finish typing the full postcode). –  JonW Sep 11 '12 at 10:36
    
Ah. Perhaps it's using my US-based IP address to limit the choices it displays. –  Andrew Leach Sep 11 '12 at 10:47
    
But as JonW said, it works for UK addresses... and international ones too in fact. If you click in the field to start typing (and then select country flag in the drop down). Scrolling with the arrow keys works for me and then press Enter to select address. Although in testing, most users just type the address until only a few options remain then select with a mouse click. Any address lookup service needs to have a fall back. We're going to be integrating Capture+ in to multiple address fields so at least manual input will be available if the service were to go down. –  Graham Lowe Sep 11 '12 at 13:56

Is this in the UK I take it? Becasue the only bit that changes, generally, is the number or property name- so you could fill in everything you can and leave the number/name to the user. It might actually be quicker than scrolling through a massive list to find your house. Those lists can get massive when you get 1 postcode for a road and that road is in turn full of apartment buildings!

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Hi, yes it is in the UK. There is the option for a user to enter their house number and I expect this will be used most of the most time be honest which will ensure this is rarely an issue. Obviously still want to get it right as well though. –  simon Sep 11 '12 at 10:29

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