As enablers of online conversations between businesses and customers, Web forms are often responsible for gathering critical information—email addresses for continued communications, mailing addresses for product shipments, and billing information for payment processing to name just a few. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that one of the most common questions I get asked about Web form design is: “How do I deal with international addresses?”
But before we get into the nuances of address variations, it’s worth pointing out that addresses have a commonly understood structure. Through years of experience with mailing and postal systems, people have a pretty concrete idea of what constitutes an address block. This common understanding is so definitive that eyetracking data suggests, once people begin filling in a set of input fields that make up an address, they often cease looking at their labels. The basic structure of an address is so familiar, people don’t need the guidance labels provide. Read More
Recently, I had the privilege of visiting family members who still reside in Cuba and got to see where my father and his family lived until the early 1960s. It was a truly eye-opening trip on a number of levels and one I am unlikely ever to forget. Though it was an incredible journey through my family and cultural history, it was also a bit of a digital nightmare. I returned to the United States with a renewed appreciation for Web development and what it means to truly consider the user’s experience.
Using the Internet in Cuba
While I was in Cuba, I kept friends and family back home abreast of what I experienced on my trip via email and Facebook. Thankfully, most of the hotels where we stayed made this relatively easy by providing a Computer Lab This was generally just a single, old computer and what I could generously describe as “Internet access.” I paid $5 for 30 minutes of access, which might sound like a decent deal, but the Internet speed felt slower than dialup. So just sending a quick update easily cost me 10 minutes of time. This was painful to say the least. Read More
If you’re designing a product you want to sell globally, assuming every consumer across the world has the same needs and expectations won’t get you far. Knowing and understanding what makes people different is what will determine your success.