Predictive Address Capture
Address validation improves customer experience by identifying inaccuracies and data missing from their address details. It also standardises addresses (for example against Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File).
It’s essential to ensure the correct address is captured for identity validation and to ensure that physical products (such as bank or store cards) are delivered to the correct addresses.
Predictive address capture simplifies the process for customers by allowing them to enter part of their address and immediately see rest of the address auto populated. It provides intuitive flexibility by allowing an address to be entered starting with street or postcode.Predictive address capture also has the advantage of being able to manage non-UK addresses.
Predictive address capture works great with mobile devices as well, because it avoids the need for lengthy and awkward postcode dropdown lists.
Predictive address capture ensures that only addresses in the individual’s own country are presented via IP address geolocation.
The screenshot below shows a partial address that has been entered by a user; the Address service rapidly responds back with a list of possible matches which can be displayed for the user to select from at any time.
Address Search Options
When developing an application, there are three options for using address search:
1. Separate search fields
With this option, the search field is separate from the other address fields and contains the address search functionality. Once an address is selected by the customer, the other fields are automatically populated.
This approach presents an address form layout that is familiar to many. We recommend positioning the search field above the address form as this saves the customer from attempting to enter their address manually before coming across the powerful search features of an address finder which uses autocomplete.
2. Bound fields
This method binds the address search functionality to as many of your address form fields as you choose. Selecting a matching address in any field completes the remaining address fields.
3. Single line
This layout simplifies an address form down to just one field. Selecting a match reveals the correctly formatted address. Address forms can occupy far less space when implemented this way.
Our most recent research suggests the single line approach is far more intuitive when using predictive solutions than putting the search on the ‘Address line 1’ of a complete field set.
This is because of the mental model of entering address information. It’s a very common, often-repeated process that customers become accustomed to, and if they see a complete set of fields, they expect to go through the process of entering their information in the traditional manner. Some individuals can then get confused when this process is interrupted by the appearance of the address suggestions.
A single field, however, puts the customer in the mindset of searching and then selecting a result. It’s helpful and makes the process of checking out quicker and more accurate.
Single field implementation also reduces the number of fields that are strictly required, which on mobile devices makes the form shorter and less intimidating. The less an individual has to switch between different controls/fields, the less likely it is they will encounter a barrier.
Entering an Address Manually
Our address data is updated daily in the UK, so it is rare that an address cannot be found, but it is always a good idea to allow your customers the option to manually complete their address if it can’t be found.
The reason is, no database is 100% accurate. There may be addresses that genuinely exist but do not appear in the postal address files. There may also be situations where an individual may need to alter an address manually after it has been auto-filled.
For example, certain premises, such as halls of residence or nursing homes, can often be listed as single premises. This can cause difficulties when a customer’s building number is not included in the listing. Therefore, it’s a good idea to allow them to manually update the first line (or the entire address) after the address has been looked up.