Was wondering what is the general practice for filling in the town name in a form.

I have to use autocomplete as I'm using the information for geolocalization, so I can't let the user enter free text as there could be mistakes. The zipcode is needed to differentiate towns that have the same name.

Do people prefer filling in the zipcode or the name of the town ?

I came up with the following design, have not seen this anywhere before. Could it be confusing for the user ?

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  • Do people in france generally know their zip codes? Are they used to providing their zip codes for address details?
    – Zach
    Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 4:15
  • Yes everyone knows their postal code in France. It's mandatory when providing your address. The code refers to a mail delivery office, sometimes different towns can have the same code.
    – ThunderDev
    Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 11:58
  • Ehm... Google Maps autocomplete works exactly like that. The same goes for the OpenStreetMaps/Nominatim API.
    – kaiser
    Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 13:21
  • I've rarely ever seen a travel/airline website that didn't let you enter either airport name ("Paris" and then select) or IATA airport code (e.g. "CDG"), which is the equivalent of a zip or postal code, if you will. So no, I wouldn't think this is confusing. Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


That doesn't seem too confusing. Just remember that the zip code may be wrong for certain places, some places use postal codes, and there are many variables. Not all places will follow the same rules regarding postal/zip codes.

As long as you prepare for all of the variables, then it's not a bad idea. You could even have the zip code fill in another field automatically for city name, which allows them to edit it just in case it's incorrect.

  • 1
    My app is based in France which uses postal codes, so shouldn't have any problems with those rules. I'm basically assuming my towns database is correct so I'm not allowing the user to edit anything. You did not answer my first question, but I just realized this probably depends a lot on the country. Thanks
    – ThunderDev
    Commented Aug 3, 2013 at 14:40

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