+/- impacts of 'address verification systems' on online forms

16 Feb 2010 - 8:54pm
4 years ago
1 reply
1104 reads
Marcus Coghlan
2007

Hi all,

Has anyone had any experience with implementing an 'address
verification system' in online (application) forms?

These systems validate a user provided address against a database of
known addresses, usually provided by Postal services. A couple of
examples can be seen at ...
- http://www.qas.com/address-search/interactive-demo.htm
- http://www.typepal.com/demo/demo_standard.php

While I can certainly see the benefits, my concern is that the extra
complexity would reduce both the usability and ux, thus increasing a
form's abandonment rate.

Any input would be very welcome.

Thanks. Marcus

Comments

4 Mar 2010 - 6:34am
Cristiano Andreotti
2010

Hi Marcus and everybody who has taken part in this discussion.

I am speaking from a non-neutral point of view, of course, but I think experience may be interesting...

Well, I agree that probably every address verification system adds some complexity to an online form. What We, at Typepal, have tried to do, is to minimize the weight of the verification, by simply suggesting a possible correct address to the user. This means that our address verification is not mandatory, and it never prevents the user from enetering "what he wants to".

Of course If the user choose to enter somethign that is not listed (Sofia, for instance) no suggestion will appear. But, as far as Postal data are concerned there is just one way to write down a town's name or a street name, not necessarily "the correct" one. But the one which is accepted by Postal services.

We are continuously upgrading our forms and databases, and as someone has correctly pointed out, it is virtually impossible to cover all addresses  all over the world. The point is that something is always better than nothing. If You take a look at some online registration forms (including the most influential and visited portals, such as Ebay or Amazon) you will notice that no suggestion  is provided, so basically You can enter whatever you want. This may result in wrong addresses, thus leading to mismatch in shipping etc.

So, including  some verification tool may add a little bit of complexity (while significantly reducing the number of characters needed to enter a valid address, as you can see in our new demo) but it’s probably worth it!

Thank You! Cristiano

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