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Web | Monday, January 5th, 2015

Postal Address Formats

Little design details - Help Postman Pat with proper postal address formats

Whilst aesthetic beauty is an important part of design, it should never get in the way of helping the website visitor do what they came to the site to do. Good website design must therefore be a collaborative and iterative process which evolves throughout not just initial stages but throughout development and the life of a website.

Whilst designing a website, our graphic designer produced this gorgeous-looking footer with the address formatted as follows (image shows Fish.Net’s address):

Footer without proper postal address format - with bullet points between address lines

The client had provided the address in that format, and the graphic designer added the bullet points to enhance the aesthetic beauty.

The usability of postal address formats

Those looking for the address, however, are likely to want to do something with it – amongst which might be to copy it and paste it into a letter. The bullets and the irregular order of address lines would get in the way of this.

The Royal Mail has a guide on how to address an envelope, detailing the appropriate postal address format. By mangling the address format there is a risk of post being lost or delayed, so the visitor needs to manually remove bullets. Not the best way to treat a customer!

A few small changes made the address (almost) comply with Royal Mail’s postal address formats, without sacrificing the aesthetic too much:

Web page footer with proper postal address format.

It’s little details that make the difference.

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