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Re: Revised gateway FAQ

From: John Yunker <jyunker@bytelevel.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 11:52:46 -0800
Message-Id: <5d51d0ff5a79a7b5ba805b85dd773853@bytelevel.com>
Cc: public-i18n-geo@w3.org
To: Tex Texin <tex@i18nguy.com>


Thanks so much for the comments. This is a complex issue, as you 
illustrated, and I'm honestly not sure at this point that I can 
adequately address and resolve all the comments I've received so far in 
one FAQ. The larger problem is that for every recommendation I make 
there will be an exception (or more) that is equally valid. So much 
depends on what the company's goals are.

Thanks again,

On Feb 16, 2005, at 11:12 AM, Tex Texin wrote:

> 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.
> hth.
> tex
>> 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 19:53:20 UTC

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