Address Verification for Course Adoption

The American Psychological Association (APA) has a web application called the Course Adoption System that allows college professors to request a copy of an APA book to consider using for their courses. To optimize the app, an address verification modal was added to help users make sure they received their books at the correct address.
American Psychological Association
UX Designer
Address Verification for Course Adoption


College professors were not receiving the book they requested, which impacted course adoption sales. For educators, it's helpful for them to review a book first before purchasing it for their classroom. The purpose of this web app is to assist professors in requesting a copy for an APA book. If a user accidentally inputs the wrong address, this prevents them from ever receiving the book which impacts the decision making process in whether or not they will adopt it for their class. It was important to make sure the system helped users recognize, diagnose and recover from this error.


An address verification modal is a common design pattern for any site that ships a product to someone. The purpose of this pattern is to help with error prevention, which helps users recognize that there is a problem and then gives them the opportunity to fix it. While designing the modal, I wanted to ensure that the messaging was clear and direct.

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The Details

First, I looked through address verification examples from Baymard Institute. Looking through the examples helped to inform the design by making sure we were following existing mental models. One thing I found was that most of the validation gave users a choice between their entered address and a suggested address. I thought this was helpful for giving the user context and a choice between the 2 options.

When it comes to modals, it's very easy for someone to quickly dismiss the modal without reading anything. With that in mind, I wanted to make sure it was clear that the user needed to take an explicit action. We highlighted the corrected choice by adding a subtitle saying "We Suggest" and placing it above the entered address.

Giving Users Control

There was a point in the project where the team was considering not letting the user proceed if the address they entered was not verified. I advocated to let the user move forward through the process. There were pros and cons for each side. Ultimately, I believed in following the usability heuristic that gives the user control.

Consider the following scenario: A professor is considering adopting an APA book for their classroom, and first attempts to request a copy to evaluate. This person has just moved into a newly built house, so their address is not recognized by the postal office yet. While using the course adoption system, they enter in their address and see a modal telling them that the address they entered is unverified, while seeing no option to move forward. Now the user is stuck, frustrated and abandons their order.

This is where we introduce an additional modal. We let the user know that their address is unverified, but give them the option to continue. The primary action of this modal is "Edit Address", and the secondary action is labeled "Use Unverified Address". This modal was designed to purposely add friction and make the user think about the next step they want to take. After reviewing their address, if they are positive that they want to move forward, they simply confirm this by pressing "Use Unverified Address".


The address verification modal helped significantly reduce the amount of incorrect orders and calls to the customer service center. This system helps professors to try before they buy, which is an important step to selling APA books to universities. Making sure professors are able to easily order and receive their book, helps contribute to that decision making process.

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