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I'm designing a form that requires me to collect a user's region using the NUTS 1 standard for the options.

At the moment I'm ordering by the NUTS 1 Code which gives this:
NUTS 1 Regions
North East
North West
Yorkshire and the Humber
East Midlands
West Midlands
East of England
London
South East
South West
Wales
Scotland
Northern Ireland

The East-West, North-South ordering of the English regions instinctively feels preferable to purely alphabetical, but I'm less certain about the arrangement of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Is there a standard for the arrangement of the NUTS regions? I suspect there isn't. If not, is there a standard for ordering the countries of the UK which would apply here?

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There obviously is a standard listing, as evidenced by the coding (illustrated on the map in Wikipedia):

NUTS region coding and location

What you could do, to illustrate the order, if you don't want to provide a map, is list the codes:

UKC North East
UKD North West
UKE Yorkshire & Humber
UKF East Midlands
...
UKL Wales
UKM Scotland
UKN Northern Ireland

This should absolve you of any charges of arbitrariness or prejudice. A map also serves to illustrate just how arbitrary the regions are: Lincolnshire (east coast of F) isn't really East Midlands; and the area where F, G, J and K are in close proximity can fall foul of personal preference.

Even if you don't actually list the codes or include a map, using the code order means that the decision is Eurostat's, not yours.

Don't forget UKZ (extra-regio, which presumably includes Gibraltar, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man).

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I'd include Scot/NI/Wales in your north-south (major axis), east-west (minor axis) classification. It's essentially scanning the UK from top to bottom a row at a time, Scotland's at the top like it would be in a map, London/South-East at the bottom.

Scotland
Northern Ireland
North West
North East
Yorkshire & Humber
Wales
West Midlands
East Midlands
East of England
South West
South East
London

You could of course do a map, but that's assuming a bit more of a leap in geographical knowledge of your users (and the fact London makes a small target). Another alternative is location sniffing through your browser, but again that's a fair lump of technical work to convert to a region of the uk.

If you want something like a 'standard', the ONS has this list --> http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/geography/beginner-s-guide/eurostat/index.html but they just bung wales/scotland/ni at the end as well, which from experience can annoy.

  • Location sniffing in the browser is fraught with difficulty as the user has to give permission and even then it could rely on IP address, which to all intents and purposes is useless for geolocation in the UK. – Andrew Leach Jul 17 '16 at 11:38
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I think the best alternative is to put the 'non England' bits at the top of the list.

For some reason (size?) I would order them like this

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

Visually it 'gets them out of the way' before the user starts to scroll through the England list.

And then follow on with the England regions as you have them.

  • Why at the top, and not, say, at the bottom? This feels opinionated and with little backing to the suggestion. – a CVn Aug 17 '16 at 13:21
  • At the top as it "gets them out of the way". Most of the list are parts of England, so a short scroll will show all the constituents parts of the UK. If you put them at the bottom of the list all the user will see will be (parts) of England until they've scrolled right down to the bottom of the list. This also keeps people from the geographic margins of the UK happy as the London media tends to ignore them, and they rightly might feel marginalised. – PhillipW Aug 17 '16 at 18:47

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