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RE: Revised gateway FAQ

From: Miller, Susan K <susan.k.miller@boeing.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 11:19:32 -0800
Message-ID: <6523CE1AA2AD7547B008D89324FCC421064967DA@xch-nw-23.nw.nos.boeing.com>
To: <public-i18n-geo@w3.org>, <jyunker@bytelevel.com>

John, Also a follow-on question that has come from my organization, which is currently implementing a new home pag:  regarding the globe, what is the suggested alt-text?

I have only been able to find a couple of globe icons in use. Philips has "Global/English", their first pull down option.  I also saw "International Pages" on the one site that used a globe on the "top 10 companies" link you provided.  I'm not too crazy about those options and sure would like a better suggestion to pass along to our designer.


Susan K. Miller
Communications Web Team
The Boeing Company
ph. 206.544.1417

-----Original Message-----
From: Tex Texin [mailto:tex@i18nguy.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2005 11:13 AM
To: public-i18n-geo@w3.org; jyunker@bytelevel.com
Subject: Re: Revised gateway FAQ

Hi John,
A couple comments for you:

1) I agree pulldowns are not nice. So I wonder why we give so much attention to them instead of focusing more on alternatives. Also, I would consider taking the comments that are not pulldown specific and making them general comments. For example, location, globe icon, utf-8, use of graphics etc. could be stated as considerations having nothing to do with pull-downs, but general techniques that may also be used for pull-downs.

2) You mention location of top, right. Does this hold true for right to left languages?

Also, I suggest the recommendation is perhaps too specific, because it doesn't give any discussion of what is competing for that space and how to evaluate how to optimize the needs of the other typical banner items. company logo, store locations, contact, support, etc. I realize there is considerable variability, but to simply say top-right doesn't really give people an idea of why that should be, what the alternatives are, and why some of the other common uses for that location shouldn't be given priority. Maybe a reference or two, if it would make the faq too long.

3) This faq confuses locale and language. It starts out discussing locales, which to me means it is about selecting the region that the site will discuss. Later it talks about language. I think a web site should be clear on whether the navigation is addressing the type of content being selected or the language being selected.

4) Assuming the intent is language selection, I don't think globe is a good symbol for languages. Since globe is geographic, when I see it, I presume it is indicating something that will help me know more about the countries a company sells in. regional offices, etc. We do need a good global symbol for languages. The face profile with lines coming out indicating speech works, although it could indicate voice, chat or other function. Maybe a graphic with the first letter of several scripts? (a, alef, alpha, etc.) If you had locales in mind, I agree globe is a good choice.


> Revised gateway FAQ
> From: John Yunker <jyunker@bytelevel.com>
> Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 16:34:52 -0800
> To: GEO <public-i18n-geo@w3.org>
> Based on input from the call today, here is the revised text and image 
> attachments.
> ------------------------------
> FAQ Global Gateway
>  Question
> What are the best practices for using a pull-down menu on my company's 
> Web site to direct visitors to their country Web sites?
>  Background
> As companies launch an increasing number of localized Web sites, 
> user-friendly global navigation grows in importance. The term "global 
> gateway" is frequently used to refer to the visual and technical 
> devices that Web sites employ to direct visitors to their content. One 
> of the more popular devices is a pull-down menu on the home page that 
> includes links to the other locales.
>  Answer
> The pull-down menu is not a silver bullet for global navigation and it 
> may not be the best solution for your Web site. If your site supports 
> only a handful of locales, it is better to avoid using a pull-down 
> menu altogether and simply include links directly to each locale. 
> Also, if your company offers more than 20 locales, a pull-down menu is 
> not very usable for those Web users who must scroll to the end of the 
> list.
> However, if you do decide to use a pull-down menu, here are some best 
> practices to keep in mind:
> 1. Locate the pull-down menu at the top of all Web pages, preferably 
> to the right side. This location is highly visible, reducing the 
> chance that the visitor will not see it. Furthermore, an increasing 
> number of Web sites have located their global gateways in this 
> location, conditioning Web users to come to expect it here.
>  2. Include an icon of a globe or map next to the pull-down menu. You 
> cannot expect Web users who are not fluent in English to understand 
> "Select language." Universally recognized icons communicate to people 
> regardless of what language they speak. Over time, the globe icon 
> could be as widely recognized as the shopping cart icon. See the 
> example below from the Philips Web site. (image: philips.jpg)
> 3. Translate the menu options as necessary. Instead of including a 
> link on the pull-down menu that reads, for example, "French" the link 
> should read "Franšais."
> To display a mix of non-Latin languages, such as Arabic, Russian and 
> Japanese, your Web page will need to support the UTF-8 (Unicode) 
> encoding. Please note that if you do switch to UTF-8, the Web user 
> must have a font that can display this range of scripts; most new 
> operating systems do ship with such a font. Be aware that a Web user 
> in the US, for example, may see empty boxes in place of the Japanese 
> text while the user in Japan will see the text just fine.
> If you do not want to change encodings, an alternative is to embed 
> non-Latin text within graphics located outside of the pull-down menu, 
> as demonstrated by the Symantec Web site. (image: symantec.gif)
> John Yunker
> Byte Level Research
>    * application/applefile attachment: philips.jpg
> [philips.jpg] [symantec.gif]
Received on Wednesday, 16 February 2005 19:20:09 UTC

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