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Are there any recommended ways to encourage/remind users to enter their mailing address instead of email address into webforms when appropriate?

We have been having this problem way more than I would have expected (several a week). The forms are fairly standard:

Form 1 Form 2

Am I committing some UX travesty here which is confusing users? This seems to happen more often with users whose first language is not English, but it does happen with both. Maybe there's a better term than "Mailing Address" which I could use?

I'd love to hear any suggestions or recommendations, or if anyone else has even had this problem before.

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Do you mean physical address for paper mail? –  Alexey Kolchenko Oct 19 '13 at 17:52

6 Answers 6

up vote 3 down vote accepted

(I’m a non-native English speaker.) When I read your question title, I thought: Huh, what’s the difference between "email address" and "mailing address"?

For me, "mail address" is a synonym for "email address". And "mailing address" is not that far away from "mail address".

I think one of these labels would work better:

  • postal address
  • shipping address
  • address

It might also be possible to refer to "street" (+ number) instead, but I’m not sure how widely this is used.

Side note: Mabye it’s worth considering to add a second "address" field; see: Why are there two Address lines in Address forms?

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2  
Oh, not more address fields! :o --- definitely don't add fields to the form. Let's consolidate the address field into one while we're looking at making improvements. –  Matt Oct 20 '13 at 1:12
1  
Thank you for the insight of a non-native English speaker and your helpful suggestions of other terms! I'll definitely update my labels. –  Taj Morton Oct 21 '13 at 4:33

Try to re-design your form.
enter image description here

  1. Form description is too verbose and non-prominent. Header Shipping address is clear and easy for perception.
  2. Shipping Address and Mailing address is a bit confusing. Use Address label and placeholder in the field.
  3. Narrow address field is perceived as small info container, like email. The real postal addresses are more wider. Change width of the field, try some real addresses for measurement.
  4. Change the sizes of all the fields to support appropriate information amount.
  5. Change alignment of the labels for easy form reading.
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Thank you for the illustration and suggestions. If I had enough rep I would upvote you! –  Taj Morton Oct 21 '13 at 4:33

Just use Address but MOST importantly, right-align your labels and change the width of your labels to match the size of the data you would expect the field to contain. Obviously zip would be less characters than the address field. This allow the eye to anchor on the field size and makes it easier for the user to get their bearings on where they are in the form filling process. You could also check for an @ symbol using javascript and present a warning that this is not an email address.

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Try "Postal address". As a non-native-English speaker I would never confuse it with email address.

However, I don't know how common this term is among native English speakers.

Also: Provide examples as a placeholder or a label beside the input.

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A mailing address usually has two fields, the second of which is optional. (I guess it's for apartment numbers or something - I've never actually used that second line)

Maybe adding that second field will help users to identify the field properly? In any case, it will help support users that need that second line for whatever reason.

(Whoever knows what that second field is actually for gets a free upvote)

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US addresses don't have a second street line. (Usually.) But please oh please don't add another address field (as I commented below) -- let's make the web better by simplifying address input instead of making it more confusing. (Sorry. I work at SmartyStreets. For some reason I'm kind of passionate about this...) –  Matt Oct 20 '13 at 5:33

I would suggest that you revise the words to make the copy more understandable and you can also try "hinting" text in the fields with what you are expecting. It's very easy to do in html and it will help your users to understand what they need to write in the fields.

You just need to add the text below to the values of the text field.

< input type="text" placeholder="City" title="City">

enter image description here

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