Many websites and data capture forms ask for a “Country” field to be selected upon registration, often mandatory as it is required for the CRM and marketing programs. So how often have you come across a dropdown option list that starts off like this:

and appears never-ending? Where you need to scroll up and down to find your respective country, which is likely NOT going to be one of the top 10 alphabetically?

How many forms might be submitted with a wrong country because the user can’t be bothered to find the right item, or by mistake? And while the citizens of Afghanistan and the Aland Islands should not be excluded from submitting a form (if the related service / response is valid for that market), there will be very very few in reality who need to chose those options in your regular marcomms programs.

Why are those lists typically so long, and include all these exotic options? Because web developers pick up a standard “country code” list from a source site, and re-use that list again and again - unless someone in the team (in marketing or sales typically) gives them an alternative, cut-down and re-ordered list - simples!

Best practice: create an option list that contains your top target country markets A-Z, followed by a break line, and then - IF applicable - any remaining country options follow, again A-Z.

And if you want to go the extra mile, use geo IP lookup to pre-populate that country field, in many cases a simple script can detect the originating country from a browser session and make that submit process even easier.