Forms - selecting a country

29 Dec 2008 - 10:00pm
5 years ago
27 replies
1370 reads
White, Jeff
2007

There have been previous discussions on this topic, one here:
http://www.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=23593

But they haven't really focused on what I'm after: your favorite examples
for having a person specify what country they live in, in the context of a
web form. Anyone come across a particularly effective way of collecting this
information recently (including consideration for accessibility)? Bonus
points if it does not involve a gigantic dropdown with ~ 195 countries in
it. Unless, of course, you feel that's the best way.

Thanks,
Jeff

Comments

30 Dec 2008 - 3:20am
Yohan Creemers
2008

Sorry to disappoint you, but I think a dropdown with 195 country names
is the most convenient way to select the country you live in. I
propose to use the official UN list * of ISO 3166-1 country names in
the same language as the rest of the form **, ordered alphabetically.

My design consideration is, that this is the most predictable
solution and very accessible.

A design alternative could be a text box with a smart auto complete
feature that will recognize variations in country names.

* Depending on your target audience you might want to make a few
political changes in the official UN list.

** An alphabetical list of countries by native names will not work,
as there are no rules how to order a list with multiple scripts
(Latin, Arabic) and there are countries with more than one native
name (België, Belgium, Belgien).

- Yohan
[www.ylab.nl]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720

30 Dec 2008 - 3:29am
James Page
2008

Jeff,

We have just done a Remote Usability study where one of the issues was
people selecting their country. The system been tested placed the country
where it thought the user was from at the top of the drop down list of 195
countries. This is a common pattern with sites in America often listing the
United States as the top country in the list.

So for example if the person was from the Netherlands, the Netherlands was
placed on the top. Every user still looked all the way down the list and
then spent time in puzzlement in why their country was not listed under N.
It took a long time for them to find the Netherlands at the top of the list.
Even if the user was Austrian it still took the user time to find Austria if
it was placed at the top, even though Austria is normally one of the top
countries (alphabetically) on the list.

We have carried out tests where countries are listed by continent (n=86),
again puzzlement, and a high 15%+ failure rate of the user selecting the
right country.

This last study shows the importance of testing ideas with a target audience
from the countries in question (remote is a cheap effective method), because
I would believe that an American has become used to United States been
listed as the top country but most users from other countries have not got
to used to their countries been listed at the top of the drop down box.

On a pure GOMS basis getting the user to type in the country would be far
more efficient, on a key press count. Maybe the solution is to do an AJAX
type auto complete box. With suggestions including the many ways of spelling
each country. (eg. Great Britain, United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Alba,
Écosse, etc...) An Auto Complete box gets around the issue of ordering by
scripts(Latin, Arabic) as the user would have started typing in the script
that the listing would order them by.

But testing (remote) with a wide selection of the target audience in many
parts of the world is imperative because people have got so used to
selecting their country from a drop down list.

James
http://blog.feralabs.com

2008/12/30 Yohan Creemers <yohan at ylab.nl>

> Sorry to disappoint you, but I think a dropdown with 195 country names
> is the most convenient way to select the country you live in. I
> propose to use the official UN list * of ISO 3166-1 country names in
> the same language as the rest of the form **, ordered alphabetically.
>
>
> My design consideration is, that this is the most predictable
> solution and very accessible.
>
> A design alternative could be a text box with a smart auto complete
> feature that will recognize variations in country names.
>
> * Depending on your target audience you might want to make a few
> political changes in the official UN list.
>
> ** An alphabetical list of countries by native names will not work,
> as there are no rules how to order a list with multiple scripts
> (Latin, Arabic) and there are countries with more than one native
> name (België, Belgium, Belgien).
>
> - Yohan
> [www.ylab.nl]
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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>

30 Dec 2008 - 10:02am
mtumi
2004

A common mistake in listing languages for selection is to list them
all in the form designer's native tongue (eg english, french, spanish;
rather than english, francais, espanol). Seeing this post made me
curious about how/if this problem should be addressed in country
listings. It seems to me I always see these lists in english.

Anyone dealt with that?

Michael

On Dec 30, 2008, at 3:29 AM, James Page wrote:

> Jeff,
>
> We have just done a Remote Usability study where one of the issues was
> people selecting their country. The system been tested placed the
> country
> where it thought the user was from at the top of the drop down list
> of 195
> countries. This is a common pattern with sites in America often
> listing the
> United States as the top country in the list.
>
> So for example if the person was from the Netherlands, the
> Netherlands was
> placed on the top. Every user still looked all the way down the list
> and
> then spent time in puzzlement in why their country was not listed
> under N.
> It took a long time for them to find the Netherlands at the top of
> the list.
> Even if the user was Austrian it still took the user time to find
> Austria if
> it was placed at the top, even though Austria is normally one of the
> top
> countries (alphabetically) on the list.
>
> We have carried out tests where countries are listed by continent
> (n=86),
> again puzzlement, and a high 15%+ failure rate of the user selecting
> the
> right country.
>
> This last study shows the importance of testing ideas with a target
> audience
> from the countries in question (remote is a cheap effective method),
> because
> I would believe that an American has become used to United States been
> listed as the top country but most users from other countries have
> not got
> to used to their countries been listed at the top of the drop down
> box.
>
> On a pure GOMS basis getting the user to type in the country would
> be far
> more efficient, on a key press count. Maybe the solution is to do an
> AJAX
> type auto complete box. With suggestions including the many ways of
> spelling
> each country. (eg. Great Britain, United Kingdom, England, Scotland,
> Alba,
> Écosse, etc...) An Auto Complete box gets around the issue of
> ordering by
> scripts(Latin, Arabic) as the user would have started typing in the
> script
> that the listing would order them by.
>
> But testing (remote) with a wide selection of the target audience in
> many
> parts of the world is imperative because people have got so used to
> selecting their country from a drop down list.
>
> James
> http://blog.feralabs.com
>
> 2008/12/30 Yohan Creemers <yohan at ylab.nl>
>
>> Sorry to disappoint you, but I think a dropdown with 195 country
>> names
>> is the most convenient way to select the country you live in. I
>> propose to use the official UN list * of ISO 3166-1 country names in
>> the same language as the rest of the form **, ordered alphabetically.
>>
>>
>> My design consideration is, that this is the most predictable
>> solution and very accessible.
>>
>> A design alternative could be a text box with a smart auto complete
>> feature that will recognize variations in country names.
>>
>> * Depending on your target audience you might want to make a few
>> political changes in the official UN list.
>>
>> ** An alphabetical list of countries by native names will not work,
>> as there are no rules how to order a list with multiple scripts
>> (Latin, Arabic) and there are countries with more than one native
>> name (België, Belgium, Belgien).
>>
>> - Yohan
>> [www.ylab.nl]
>>
>>
>>
>> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> Posted from the new ixda.org
>> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720
>>
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

30 Dec 2008 - 10:56am
Yohan Creemers
2008

Michael,
In this case language and country are not related.
The language used for the list is the language of the user interface.

In my opinion the list of country names should be in the same language as
the rest of the page. On a French web page the list will start with:
Afghanistan
Afrique du Sud
Albanie
Algérie
Allemagne
...

I've dealt with this in several multilingual web applications. In case
you're interested: I can provide a database with country names in English,
français, español, Deutsch & Nederlands.

- Yohan.

30 Dec 2008 - 11:56am
White, Jeff
2007

Thanks for all of the responses so far. Yohan, I'd be very interested in
your multilingual country database - thanks for sharing.

Jeff

On Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 7:56 AM, Yohan Creemers <yohan at ylab.nl> wrote:

> Michael,
> In this case language and country are not related.
> The language used for the list is the language of the user interface.
>
> In my opinion the list of country names should be in the same language as
> the rest of the page. On a French web page the list will start with:
> Afghanistan
> Afrique du Sud
> Albanie
> Algérie
> Allemagne
> ...
>
> I've dealt with this in several multilingual web applications. In case
> you're interested: I can provide a database with country names in English,
> français, español, Deutsch & Nederlands.
>
> - Yohan.
>
> ________________________________________________________________
>
>

30 Dec 2008 - 11:56am
Jack L. Moffett
2005

Many support sites begin with a map, having the user select the
continent or region first, and then presenting a list of countries. If
a graphical map isn't feasible, you could use two menus: one for
continent/region that then populates the second with a filtered list
of countries.

Best,
Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

Simplicity is not the goal.
It is the by-product of a good idea
and modest expectations.

- Paul Rand

30 Dec 2008 - 12:29pm
Gilles DEMARTY
2005

Hello to the list, hello Jeff.

On Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 5:56 PM, Jeff White <jwhite31 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks for all of the responses so far. Yohan, I'd be very interested in
> your multilingual country database - thanks for sharing.

Good default value [1] is your friend here.

IP-address provides information about the location of the one who is
filling the form [2]. You can fill the form with this information and
the guess will be probably true.

Of course, in case this value is wrong (proxy issues, etc...) a
drop-down list allows for manual selection, but my guess is that most
of your audience will not have to select it manually.

Yet, as usual, it depends really on your audience.
If the web form is targeted for the consumer market, the ip address
will be probably correct. If the form will be accessed by
multinational companies, the chances are the proxy for the Internet
connection will be in another country. Yet those cases are rare and
previous solution still holds.

my €.02
Gilles

[1] http://designinginterfaces.com/Good_Defaults
[2] http://www.geobytes.com/ipLocator.htm

30 Dec 2008 - 1:10pm
Anonymous

I don't know what your limitations are, but could you have an
auto-complete feature where the user just starts typing and possible
countries show up?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720

30 Dec 2008 - 1:31pm
jaketrimble
2008

Using a user's IP address to tell you where they are is NOT a good
idea. The proxy will fool you too often.

For accessibility and language issues I would use a graphical map
approach just like Jack suggested. This way even if the language is
different, the user still knows where their country is on a map and
will be able to select it.

You can tie into Google's API...this is an old file I found
(http://www.nearby.org.uk/coords/countries.csv), but you can see how
you can use the coordinates to create polygons to outline countries.

-Jake

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720

30 Dec 2008 - 1:32pm
White, Jeff
2007

Yes, I could. This is the direction I was thinking, but I was curious as to
what other designers are doing or have seen.

Thanks,
Jeff

On Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 10:10 AM, Allison <alliwalk1980 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I don't know what your limitations are, but could you have an
> auto-complete feature where the user just starts typing and possible
> countries show up?
>
>
>

30 Dec 2008 - 1:36pm
White, Jeff
2007

A rough idea I haven't really thought through yet is a combination of this
and a text form field with autocomplete. You could either click on a country
or start typing. The auto complete suggestions would then correlate to
highlighted countries on the map.

Thanks,
Jeff

On Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 10:31 AM, Jake Trimble <jake.trimble at gmail.com>wrote:

> Using a user's IP address to tell you where they are is NOT a good
> idea. The proxy will fool you too often.
>
> For accessibility and language issues I would use a graphical map
> approach just like Jack suggested. This way even if the language is
> different, the user still knows where their country is on a map and
> will be able to select it.
>
> You can tie into Google's API...this is an old file I found
> (http://www.nearby.org.uk/coords/countries.csv), but you can see how
> you can use the coordinates to create polygons to outline countries.
>
> -Jake
>
>

30 Dec 2008 - 1:54pm
Anonymous

Well, I don't really see too many maps on web forms...but, it depends
I guess.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720

30 Dec 2008 - 2:17pm
James Page
2008

I think the challenge of maps is trying to select a small country in size.
Try selecting Monte Carlo, the Vatican, St Kits and Nevis, and even slightly
larger ones like Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Montenegro, Bosnia, Benin,
Togo.

James

2008/12/30 Allison <alliwalk1980 at yahoo.com>

> Well, I don't really see too many maps on web forms...but, it depends
> I guess.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

30 Dec 2008 - 3:26pm
Anonymous

Yes, tiny countries would be difficult. I think you'd need a pretty big map, unless you can do some type of fish-eye selection like the Dock on the Mac.

If you choose auto-complete, after the selection you could show a picture of the country as a verification. You'd then need to have an accurate collection of images from all the countries in the world. If you could include something from Google Earth, or something like that, I guess that work would be done for you.

--- On Tue, 12/30/08, James Page <jamespage at gmail.com> wrote:

From: James Page <jamespage at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Forms - selecting a country
To: "Allison" <alliwalk1980 at yahoo.com>
Cc: discuss at ixda.org
Date: Tuesday, December 30, 2008, 2:17 PM

-----Inline Attachment Follows-----

I think the challenge of maps is trying to select a small country in size. Try selecting Monte Carlo, the Vatican, St Kits and Nevis, and even slightly larger ones like Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Montenegro, Bosnia, Benin, Togo.

James

2008/12/30 Allison <alliwalk1980 at yahoo.com>

Well, I don't really see too many maps on web forms...but, it depends

I guess.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Posted from the new ixda.org

http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720

________________________________________________________________

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30 Dec 2008 - 3:32pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Dec 30, 2008, at 3:26 PM, Allison Walker wrote:

> Yes, tiny countries would be difficult. I think you'd need a pretty
> big map, unless you can do some type of fish-eye selection like the
> Dock on the Mac.

Which is why they typically only use maps for the initial selection of
a continent or region.

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

Simplicity is not the goal.
It is the by-product of a good idea
and modest expectations.

- Paul Rand

30 Dec 2008 - 9:32pm
DampeS8N
2008

I like how google does it for their site. In that they guess right 99%
of the time and give you a way to change it if they are wrong.

You can guess, based on things like IP and other factors. Where the
user is. And no matter the context, this is the best default.. Unless
you run a service that specializes in shipping between counties...

Why this isn't common in forms is beyond me.

So auto-select that item in a drop down of all the countries.

Almost all the time, you'll be right and they won't need to deal
with that box. Sometimes, you'll be wrong, and they will end up with
the a selection that is not perfect.

Want bonus points? Float the item you guessed to the top. Under than
put USA, under that an alphabetical listing of all the rest of the
countries.

No one will notice, and that is the point.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720

31 Dec 2008 - 5:29am
James Page
2008

>
> Float the item you guessed to the top. Under than
> put USA, under that an alphabetical listing of all the rest of the
> countries.
>

> Why this isn't common in forms is beyond me.

If you look at my response at the top of this discussion the reason is that
in test we have carried out :-

So for example if the person was from the Netherlands, the Netherlands was
> placed on the top. Every user still looked all the way down the list and
> then spent time in puzzlement in why their country was not listed under N.
> It took a long time for them to find the Netherlands at the top of the list.
> Even if the user was Austrian it still took the user time to find Austria if
> it was placed at the top, even though Austria is normally one of the top
> countries (alphabetically) on the list.

James
http://blog.feralabs.com

2008/12/31 William Brall <dampee at earthlink.net>

> I like how google does it for their site. In that they guess right 99%
> of the time and give you a way to change it if they are wrong.
>
> You can guess, based on things like IP and other factors. Where the
> user is. And no matter the context, this is the best default.. Unless
> you run a service that specializes in shipping between counties...
>
> Why this isn't common in forms is beyond me.
>
> So auto-select that item in a drop down of all the countries.
>
> Almost all the time, you'll be right and they won't need to deal
> with that box. Sometimes, you'll be wrong, and they will end up with
> the a selection that is not perfect.
>
> Want bonus points? Float the item you guessed to the top. Under than
> put USA, under that an alphabetical listing of all the rest of the
> countries.
>
> No one will notice, and that is the point.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

31 Dec 2008 - 5:32am
James Page
2008

>
> Which is why they typically only use maps for the initial selection of a
> continent or region

This does not work. When we carried out a Remote study of Academics in every
continenent of the world. We got the following results when the continent /
region was selected first.

See my response above .

We have carried out tests where countries are listed by continent (n=86),
> again puzzlement, and a high 15%+ failure rate of the user selecting the
> right country.
>

James
http://blog.feralabs.com

2008/12/30 Jack Moffett <jackmoffett at mac.com>

>
> On Dec 30, 2008, at 3:26 PM, Allison Walker wrote:
>
> Yes, tiny countries would be difficult. I think you'd need a pretty big
>> map, unless you can do some type of fish-eye selection like the Dock on the
>> Mac.
>>
>
>
> Which is why they typically only use maps for the initial selection of a
> continent or region.
>
> Jack
>
>
>
> Jack L. Moffett
> Interaction Designer
> inmedius
> 412.459.0310 x219
> http://www.inmedius.com
>
>
> Simplicity is not the goal.
> It is the by-product of a good idea
> and modest expectations.
>
> - Paul Rand
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

31 Dec 2008 - 7:18am
Joshua Porter
2007

So for example if the person was from the Netherlands, the Netherlands
was placed on the top. Every user still looked all the way down the
list and then spent time in puzzlement in why their country was not
listed under N. It took a long time for them to find the Netherlands
at the top of the list...

When we were designing the UIE checkout billing page, where you
select your country, we ended up putting the country name in both
places. Some folks would grab it from the top, saving them time,
while other folks would grab it from the alpha listing. There is no
reason why the country can't be listed twice, and we found it
helpful to do so.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720

31 Dec 2008 - 7:23am
SemanticWill
2007

I don't see why you wouldn't put it in both places :-) So

Country:
__________________
Netherlands
-------------------------------
A
B
C
D
...
N
Netherlands
O
__________________

etc.

~ will

"I have become death, destroyer of worlds"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | User Experience Architect
tel: +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
aim: semanticwill
gtalk: semanticwill
twitter: semanticwill
skype: semanticwill
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On Dec 31, 2008, at 4:18 AM, Joshua Porter wrote:

> So for example if the person was from the Netherlands, the Netherlands
> was placed on the top. Every user still looked all the way down the
> list and then spent time in puzzlement in why their country was not
> listed under N. It took a long time for them to find the Netherlands
> at the top of the list...
>
> When we were designing the UIE checkout billing page, where you
> select your country, we ended up putting the country name in both
> places. Some folks would grab it from the top, saving them time,
> while other folks would grab it from the alpha listing. There is no
> reason why the country can't be listed twice, and we found it
> helpful to do so.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

31 Dec 2008 - 1:53pm
cfmdesigns
2004

Please take it one step further than just putting it in both places.
When there are multiple localized names for the country, put them all
in.

I can't tell you his many times I've tried to use keypresses to
navigate a country popup, only to fond it has USA but not United
States, or vice versa.

-- Jim
Via my iPhone

On Dec 31, 2008, at 4:18 AM, Joshua Porter <porter at bokardo.com> wrote:

> So for example if the person was from the Netherlands, the Netherlands
> was placed on the top. Every user still looked all the way down the
> list and then spent time in puzzlement in why their country was not
> listed under N. It took a long time for them to find the Netherlands
> at the top of the list...
>
> When we were designing the UIE checkout billing page, where you
> select your country, we ended up putting the country name in both
> places. Some folks would grab it from the top, saving them time,
> while other folks would grab it from the alpha listing. There is no
> reason why the country can't be listed twice, and we found it
> helpful to do so.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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31 Dec 2008 - 1:59pm
SemanticWill
2007

Why not just a simple old text box with ajax auto-lookup that is robust
enough to:
1. offer a country name in at least 5 different languages;
2. predict the most likely country name and heavily weight that suggestion
first based on iplookup.

I did it with the From and To Airport/City look-up on kayak.com (
http://www.kayak.com) - just extend it with a bigger controlled vocabulary
of country names/alternate spellings.

Long-ass drop-downs are so Spice Girls.

~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | User Experience Architect
tel: +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
aim: semanticwill
gtalk: semanticwill
twitter: semanticwill
skype: semanticwill
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 1:53 PM, Jim Drew <cfmdesigns at earthlink.net> wrote:

> Please take it one step further than just putting it in both places. When
> there are multiple localized names for the country, put them all in.
>
> I can't tell you his many times I've tried to use keypresses to navigate a
> country popup, only to fond it has USA but not United States, or vice versa.
>
> -- Jim
> Via my iPhone
>
>
> On Dec 31, 2008, at 4:18 AM, Joshua Porter <porter at bokardo.com> wrote:
>
> So for example if the person was from the Netherlands, the Netherlands
>> was placed on the top. Every user still looked all the way down the
>> list and then spent time in puzzlement in why their country was not
>> listed under N. It took a long time for them to find the Netherlands
>> at the top of the list...
>>
>> When we were designing the UIE checkout billing page, where you
>> select your country, we ended up putting the country name in both
>> places. Some folks would grab it from the top, saving them time,
>> while other folks would grab it from the alpha listing. There is no
>> reason why the country can't be listed twice, and we found it
>> helpful to do so.
>>
>>
>> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> Posted from the new ixda.org
>> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
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> ________________________________________________________________
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30 Dec 2008 - 12:13pm
Eugene Kim
2005

>
> On a pure GOMS basis getting the user to type in the country would be far
> more efficient, on a key press count. Maybe the solution is to do an AJAX
> type auto complete box. With suggestions including the many ways of spelling
> each country. (eg. Great Britain, United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Alba,
> Écosse, etc...) An Auto Complete box gets around the issue of ordering by
> scripts(Latin, Arabic) as the user would have started typing in the script
> that the listing would order them by.

Hi, I was going to suggest something like this, too. freebase.com,
google, and facebook searches are a couple ref models to work off of.
I'm sure there are more specific examples out there.

Eugene

James Page wrote:
> Jeff,
>
> We have just done a Remote Usability study where one of the issues was
> people selecting their country. The system been tested placed the country
> where it thought the user was from at the top of the drop down list of 195
> countries. This is a common pattern with sites in America often listing the
> United States as the top country in the list.
>
> So for example if the person was from the Netherlands, the Netherlands was
> placed on the top. Every user still looked all the way down the list and
> then spent time in puzzlement in why their country was not listed under N.
> It took a long time for them to find the Netherlands at the top of the list.
> Even if the user was Austrian it still took the user time to find Austria if
> it was placed at the top, even though Austria is normally one of the top
> countries (alphabetically) on the list.
>
> We have carried out tests where countries are listed by continent (n=86),
> again puzzlement, and a high 15%+ failure rate of the user selecting the
> right country.
>
> This last study shows the importance of testing ideas with a target audience
> from the countries in question (remote is a cheap effective method), because
> I would believe that an American has become used to United States been
> listed as the top country but most users from other countries have not got
> to used to their countries been listed at the top of the drop down box.
>
> On a pure GOMS basis getting the user to type in the country would be far
> more efficient, on a key press count. Maybe the solution is to do an AJAX
> type auto complete box. With suggestions including the many ways of spelling
> each country. (eg. Great Britain, United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Alba,
> Écosse, etc...) An Auto Complete box gets around the issue of ordering by
> scripts(Latin, Arabic) as the user would have started typing in the script
> that the listing would order them by.
>
> But testing (remote) with a wide selection of the target audience in many
> parts of the world is imperative because people have got so used to
> selecting their country from a drop down list.
>
> James
> http://blog.feralabs.com
>
> 2008/12/30 Yohan Creemers <yohan at ylab.nl>
>
>
>> Sorry to disappoint you, but I think a dropdown with 195 country names
>> is the most convenient way to select the country you live in. I
>> propose to use the official UN list * of ISO 3166-1 country names in
>> the same language as the rest of the form **, ordered alphabetically.
>>
>>
>> My design consideration is, that this is the most predictable
>> solution and very accessible.
>>
>> A design alternative could be a text box with a smart auto complete
>> feature that will recognize variations in country names.
>>
>> * Depending on your target audience you might want to make a few
>> political changes in the official UN list.
>>
>> ** An alphabetical list of countries by native names will not work,
>> as there are no rules how to order a list with multiple scripts
>> (Latin, Arabic) and there are countries with more than one native
>> name (België, Belgium, Belgien).
>>
>> - Yohan
>> [www.ylab.nl]
>>
>>
>>
>> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> Posted from the new ixda.org
>> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720
>>
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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>>
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
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>
>

30 Dec 2008 - 6:20pm
Joel Laumans
2008

Maps are not commonly used to select countries, and as Jack mentioned
- when used, they are usually to select the continent or region.

I believe that the best solution for users will be to use a classic
drop down list in alphabetical order - using the same language as the
rest of the interface.

I do not believe that this is the most effective method - to be more
effective I would see if you can implement an IP check to auto-select
the country of the user (instead of putting it at the top of the
list).

Of course there are pitfalls to using an IP check (see Gilles'
comment)

Maybe a clever javascript tool can be used to create a combination of
these methods? Country name listed twice, once at top of the list and
once in alphabetical order? (Obviously not for the first 10 countries
or so, otherwise users might see two versions of the same country)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720

30 Dec 2008 - 3:45am
Anders Leander
2008

It would most likely be very clunky...but how about a graphical
representation in the form of a zoomable map.

It would take away the need for language accessibility, and most
people would at least be able to find their own country on a map.
Combine it with a flag on lower levels of zoom for clarity and it
should be even easier.

However, in the context of a web form I do believe the good(bad) old
list is your best option. Yohan's idea of an auto completing text
field sounds like a good idea to me. Kind of combining the drop-down
with text input where the user can filter the otherwise long list.

//Anders

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720

29 Dec 2008 - 10:15pm
web design for ...
2008

Let them type the country in then check it dynamically to see if the
country exists. This will solve the problem, it's the best way.. not
the easiest but the most effective.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720

31 Dec 2008 - 6:39pm
DampeS8N
2008

Ok. So put it in both places. ;)
----- Original Message -----
From: James Page
To: William Brall
Cc: discuss at ixda.org
Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 5:29 AM
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Forms - selecting a country

Float the item you guessed to the top. Under than
put USA, under that an alphabetical listing of all the rest of the
countries.

Why this isn't common in forms is beyond me.

If you look at my response at the top of this discussion the reason is that in test we have carried out :-

So for example if the person was from the Netherlands, the Netherlands was placed on the top. Every user still looked all the way down the list and then spent time in puzzlement in why their country was not listed under N. It took a long time for them to find the Netherlands at the top of the list. Even if the user was Austrian it still took the user time to find Austria if it was placed at the top, even though Austria is normally one of the top countries (alphabetically) on the list.

James
http://blog.feralabs.com

2008/12/31 William Brall <dampee at earthlink.net>

I like how google does it for their site. In that they guess right 99%
of the time and give you a way to change it if they are wrong.

You can guess, based on things like IP and other factors. Where the
user is. And no matter the context, this is the best default.. Unless
you run a service that specializes in shipping between counties...

Why this isn't common in forms is beyond me.

So auto-select that item in a drop down of all the countries.

Almost all the time, you'll be right and they won't need to deal
with that box. Sometimes, you'll be wrong, and they will end up with
the a selection that is not perfect.

Want bonus points? Float the item you guessed to the top. Under than
put USA, under that an alphabetical listing of all the rest of the
countries.

No one will notice, and that is the point.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org

http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36720

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