A Revised Country Drop-down List

Since moving back to Canada, I have a major problem with the country drop-down list just about every web site on the planet seems to use: an alphabetically ordered list of countries. You’re cruising along, trying to enter information as fast as possible, and you run straight in Cambodia.

Screw you Cambodia!

Yes. Cambodia. Nothing says “screw you Canada!” like a drop-down list that defaults to Cambodia as the first entry for the letter ‘C’.

While most Internet developers seem to have developed just enough intelligence to code an HTML SELECT drop-down and put the “United States” at the top of the list, they haven’t quite figured out that the same technique might be useful for other countries. So here you go guys, here’s my free user experience advice to you: order the damn list by Internet usage.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? Show the list in the order that most represents the real state of the online world. The world isn’t alphabetical. You cannot try to tell me the next most important country after the United States is Afganistan – they’re a little more concerned with running water and electricity these days to be buying a Kindle from Amazon.com.

If you do that, here’s what it would look like:

Now, I admit, Canada still ends up being below China, but that’s a bit less insulting frankly. Nothing wrong with coming after a country with a fifth of the world’s population. But if you’re really tricky, you might even order the list based on your target audience – I mean, are you really selling to China from your North American web site? Probably not. Or what about ordering the list according to Internet spending by country?

Seriously, it’s not rocket science.