While Address Line 2 is never the sole reason shoppers leave before buying, the friction it creates can certainly be a factor in the decision.
Examples (see screenshot above) of questions being asked about Address Line 2 at Quora.com.
The proper use of Address Line 2 fields on forms
When configuring the address entry part of an online form, we’ve found it wise to refer back to the UX design rule quoted earlier: Always seek to remove friction; never to create it.
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Typical advice for your address info is to look at your customer base and determine the information most of your shoppers need to enter, then focus on optimizing your forms for those users.
If 80 percent of the people you sell to don’t require Address Line 2, does that mean you should do your best to drive away the other 20 percent?
At The Good, our team believes all customers should be served at a high level. While your decisions should certainly be informed by your particular audience, you’ll want to make your forms easy to use for all of your prospects, not just some of them.
We’ve studied best practices for the Address Line 2 field from every angle. When the smoke clears, your choices are really only two plus a hybrid:
Use special descriptive copy to guide the visitor through the formHide Address Line 2 initiallyUse a combination of the above two methods
The worst thing you can do is include a field for Address Line 2 and expect the visitor will figure it out alone.
Standard best practices for Address Line 2
First, we’ll cover the advice normally given for Address Line 2. Then, we’ll suggest a better way.We’ve already mentioned the first, but we’ll list it again and amplify a bit:
Look carefully at your current mailing list. What fields does your audience most need? What would the optimum form for your best prospects look like? Use this data to inform your chosen layout, but not to dictate it.Consider hiding Address Line 2, but providing a way for it to expand when needed. The user could click a “more space needed” button, or only expand the field when it’s detected that their address likely requires further details (apartment number, building, floor, etc).Make sure your visitors understand Address Line 2 is optional. One good way to do that is to put an obvious notice there “This field is OPTIONAL.”Include instructions on the form.
It’s helpful to provide examples of the information that should go in each field.Never label the Address fields as “Address 1” and “Address 2.” That’s a confusion trap. Including “Line” in the term (Address Line 2) is a minimum requirement. Leave no doubt about what should go in each field.
The best way to prevent Address Line 2 confusion, though, may be to stop using the term altogether.
Here’s a two-fold tactic you can implement and test:
Include a separate field for each piece of information your audience will most likely need, based on the fields your customers have historically used.Rather than naming the spillover field “Address Line 2,” try “Additional Shipping Info,” or “Additional Address Information.” The main thing is that you provide accurate, clear, and appropriate labeling to explain exactly what should go in each field.
Let’s look at some examples.
How to effectively use the Address Line 2 field
Notice (below) that Amazon opted to drop Address Line 2 designation altogether. The field is still there, but only the descriptive labeling is shown. This is an excellent way to lay out the form.
Amazon doesn’t designate the spillover field as “Address Line 2.” Note the inside field instructions to help prevent confusion. Source: Amazon.com
L.L. Bean opts to use Address Line 2 with the “optional” designation. The descriptive copy above the Address field is helpful, but do you see how this type of layout gives more room for confusion than does the Amazon method? Source: L.L. Bean
Bolt has a great solution for clearing up any Address Line 2 issues you may be experiencing in your checkout process. First, they opted to label the Address Line 2 field as “Apartment, building, floor (optional)” which immediately lets the user know what that field is meant for.
Bolt has created a responsive checkout form that eliminates any Address Line 2 confusion.
Second, they added the ability to detect when a customer is likely missing an apartment number through an address verification service. If it’s detected that the customer will likely be required to provide an apartment number, the field is expanded and asks the customer to verify that there isn’t an apartment number associated with their address.
We’ll forego embarrassing anyone needlessly and not display any bad examples of Address Line 2 deployment. Having read this article, you’ll notice examples – both good and bad – more often, and you can use them to learn more about the possibilities.
What do your address form fields look like?
Have you taken a look at your form fields lately? Have you included certain fields just because everyone else does? Do your visitors understand which information to include?
While we don’t have the final answer for everyone, it’s important to take a closer look at your Address Line 2 and other form fields with an eye toward greater usability.
Are you removing friction?
Have more questions about address forms or other form usability? Leave us a comment!
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