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Need Tips for Address/Phone/Fax/Zip fields for 'join our organization' form -worldwide access

Posted on 2004-04-04
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
Hi all,

I am making a form that will allow people to join an organization that has international members. I've done this a million times, but only for US residents, or a specific state. My question is a general one:

What is the best way to develop this form so that I can control the data input, given that different countries have different syntaxes for address, city,state,zip, phone, and fax fields?

My current thinking is that I will make an image map that redirects to a join form customized for a region (i.e. US registrants, African registrants, etc), but I don't want to end up with 500 join forms. Plus, I don't know that there is an 'African' standard like there is for the US - it may be that each country has a different syntax; I really want to keep it as simple as necessary, BUT I don't want a form with free text boxes, necessarily.

Based on your experience, what is the best way to accomplish this task?

Thanks in advance!

-g8tor

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Question by:Jim M
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10 Comments
 
LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:alexgreen
ID: 10753297
have you tried looking at other similar solutions from major players, M$, Macromedia, Adobe etc all have some way of customising to a country etc.  have a look at their payment / e-mail newsletter joining forms.
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:Jim M
ID: 10753424
Thanks for the post, Alex. Sure, I could look at a ton of sites and glean their methodology, but the reason I've posted my query here is that I don't really want to re-invent the wheel. If I wanted to spend a day examining other site's forms in the hopes of fnding a good one, I wouldn't post a 250 point question to experts-exchange! Other developers have already broached this topic, and other developers already know a good solution - that's what I'm looking for...

I want to know how other developers address this issue...is there a web developer site out there devoted to this topic? Is there a PARTICULAR site that does it well? Does someone have some canned form code that works well for them? Is there a particular methodology I should use (1 generalized form vs. several region-specific forms, or vice-versa?)

I do appreciate your comments, but I am looking for something more specific than what you posted...

-g8tor

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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:alexgreen
ID: 10755165
g8tor23,
> If I wanted to spend a day examining other site's forms in the hopes of fnding
> a good one...

that's what you are expecting other people to do for you..  fair enough then i'm out of here

Alex
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Esopo
ID: 10755526
I've never tried a registration form for such a wide scope, but the truth is it's not that complicated. I' recently had to fill up a few forms for different organisms that issue internacional forms (I'm internacional ;). They where very similar.

All you need to do is go easy on validation requirements (Exmpl: don't force zip code, very few countries have them) and allow some space for special information. Other than that I would recommend you checked the amazon.com registration forms, you can't go bigger/broather than that.

Regards,

Esopo.
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:Jim M
ID: 10756302
Thanks Esopo...which Amazon reg form? I poked around a bit, but couldn't  find a 'registration form'.

I may end up keeping it generalized...how about 2 formsa - What do you think of one for the States, which I can validate, and a more general one for everywhere else?

-g8tor
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LVL 20

Accepted Solution

by:
trailblazzyr55 earned 600 total points
ID: 10757479
Most major sites out there have a entry form for US and Canada only, then they have a section for international addresses. The US and Canada has the general input form with the fields you listed with a more restrictive form validation and then the international ones have a less string form validation and are open to a broad range of addresses. Say for instance Ireland's zip include city names, example: Dublin 6 or Dublin 9, where England is different and Germany has the us standard for zip's. So for international, validate to make sure a required field is filled in but not numerical only. As for the address line, each country other than us and canada is very different, I have been all over europe and middle east and have made some forms like you've inquiring about, truth is you can't set strict validation for international addresses, phone numbers are another thing. All phone numbers for countries have a prefix, germany is 049, Ireland 035, Uk 038, and so forth, you could validate a drop down possibly with the country that has to match the country code for the phone number and require a country and country code to match for general validation. However, the list goes on in that topic, there are sites that list all that for you and it's a matter of cut and paste, start with government sites for country listings, like cia.gov, they have a drop down there I know with loads of countries in it, view source and copy and paste, pretty easy there, check out the phone companies sites for country codes and do the same thing. Well that pretty much cover's it for address, (phone/fax), and zip. Is there more to it you're looking for???

Hope that helps!

~trail
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:Jim M
ID: 10761891
Thanks for the tips, Trail..I'll leave this open for a few days to give others a chace to respond, then close it out and award the points. So far, you've answered the question the most, even though the answer is pretty much what I was already thinking.

Thanks again,

-g8tor
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LVL 14

Assisted Solution

by:Esopo
Esopo earned 400 total points
ID: 10762128
>>which Amazon reg form?
Have you shopped at Amazon.com? Give it a try, it will give you a good idea of how one of the best sites does it. Pretend you are international and you need your package sent to your home street address (pretend you are going to buy a book, just don't buy it at the end ;). You'll be taken through a few forms until you are asked for your credit card.

> One for the States, which I can validate, and a more general one for everywhere else?
Seems like the best way to go about it, unless as you stated before, you'd like to create just about 500 forms after a couple years of extreme research.

In my experience the biggest problem is with geographical address. The good thing is packages are handled by humans, and those humans are the experts at the local mail system that know the country very well. Even if some info is being registered incorrectly or eventually gets written wrong in the package or envelope that you'll be sending, the country's local mailing system will most probably get it right. I've seen it happen many times even here (Ecuador, southamerica) were the local mailing system is very very bad.
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:trailblazzyr55
ID: 10763361
g8tor23

Yeah take your time no rush, if you have any other questions, just ask... no prob. If you have any questions about those forms I've made quite a few of them, so maybe I'll be able to give ya some better ideas for an over all form or for some international input validation.
Rgds,
~trail
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:trailblazzyr55
ID: 10896562
Hey g8tor23,

Just curious, are you still having difficulties with trying to set up you address form???

Regards,
~trail
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