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[ESW Wiki] Update of "geoFaq1" by RichardIshida

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Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 15:36:03 -0000
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The following page has been changed by RichardIshida:
http://esw.w3.org/topic/geoFaq1


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Author: John Yunker/Richard Ishida
  
  
- ----
+ ---
- = Using Select to Link to Localized Content =
+ = Using <select> to Link to Localized Content =
  
  What are the best practices for using pull-down menus based on the select element to direct visitors to localized content?
  
  
  == Background ==
  
- As companies and organizations 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 using the select element that includes links to localized versions of the content (eg. translated or alternative country sites).  Such selection lists are not restricted to use on the home page, but may also be seen as a space-effective way of allowing users to switch between translations or regionally localized sites on a page by page basis.
+ As companies and organizations 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 using the select element that includes links to localized versions of the content.  Such selection lists are not restricted to use on the home page, but may also be seen as a space-effective way of allowing users to switch between translations or regionally localized sites on a page by page basis.
  
- The localized content pointed to may be an alternative country site, a translated version of a site or page, etc.  In this article we look specifically at some of the pros and cons of using selection lists, and best practises if you think this approach is right for you.  There are numerous other aspects to global navigation that will be described in other articles.
+ The localized content pointed to may be an alternative country site, a translated version of a site or page, etc.  In this article we avoid discussion of the best practises associated with pointing to translated and/or region specific sites; we look specifically at some of the pros and cons of using ''selection lists'', for whatever purpose, and best practises if you think this approach is right for you.  There are numerous other aspects to global navigation that will be described in other articles.
  
- (Note that these recommendations do not apply to selection lists that are part of a form. For example, if you are filling in a form and selecting your country of residence or language from a list the selection list should be all in the language of the current page.)
  
  == Answer ==
  
- === Best practises ===
+ Note that these recommendations do not apply to selection lists that are part of a form. For example, if you are filling in a form and selecting your country of residence or language from a list the selection list should be all in the language of the current page.
  
+ === Should I use a <select> list at all? ===
- If you do decide to use a pull-down menu, here are some best practices to keep in mind.
- 
- '''Location.''' Locate the pull-down menu at or near the top of the page. This location is highly visible, increasing the likelihood that the visitor will see it. Scanning studies for pages in left-to-right scripts show that positioning to the top right increases visibility.  Furthermore, an increasing number of Web sites have located their global gateways in this location, conditioning Web users to come to expect it here.
- 
- '''Labelling.''' Come up with a graphic design to serve as a label for 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. In an ideal world there would be a widely recognized symbol for this. That time is still not here, though globe icons seem to be becoming more popular. 
- 
- Examples of possible graphics would include globes, iconic facial profiles with lines to indicate speech, alphabetic characters from multiple scripts (especially for links to translations), etc.
- 
- The alt text for such a graphic doesn't have a great deal of importance. You may think that it needs to be in all languages, or no particular language, for accessibility, but in reality people reliant on screen readers would be able to traverse the pull-down text to find the right link.
- 
- '''Translate options.''' Translate the menu options into the target language. Instead of including a link on the pull-down menu to a translation that reads, for example, "French" the link should read "français"; and instead of a link to an alternative country site like "Germany" the link should read "Deutschland".
- 
- Pay attention to capitalisation rules in other languages. Note how the correct translation of "French" is "français" with a lowercase 'f'.
- 
- To display a mix of non-Latin languages, such as Arabic, Russian and Japanese, you will need a way to represent all the required characters. 
- 
- '''Encoding''' Preferably you would use UTF-8 (Unicode) as the encoding for your page, since this encoding supports all the characters you will need. If you cannot use UTF-8, then you should use [http://www.w3.org/International/tutorials/tutorial-char-enc/en/all.html#Slide0420 escapes] to represent characters that are not supported by the encoding of your page.
- 
- '''Fonts''' You must also think about fonts to display this range of scripts.  Be aware that a Web user in France, for example, may see empty boxes in place of the Japanese text while the user in Japan will see the text just fine. This is because the fonts available on the French user's system may not contain Japanese glyphs. One could argue that this is not too important, since French users don't need to be able to read the Japanese.  On the other hand, you may feel that empty boxes are unsightly.
- 
- If you feel that empty boxes are unsightly you may be tempted to use text in graphics for non-Latin options. Unfortunately, it is not possible to include graphics in the selection list itself, but some sites add such graphics outside the pull-down menu.  
- 
- ''Add an example''
- 
- Be warned, however, that addressing non-Latin text this way may still not solve the problem.  Certain accented Latin characters may produce the same effect for some users.
- 
- 
- [[RI How does one assign fonts?  Do you need a universal font for the whole select list, or can you assign fonts on an option by option basis?]]
- 
- '''Descriptions''' In some cases you may want to consider following a names of a language or country in native script/language with the name in the language of the current page. 
- 
- For example:  français (French)
- 
- Using parentheses is useful because it shows more clearly that this is a clarification. 
- 
- This approach is not always necessary or desirable. On the other hand users may feel more comfortable with missing font glyphs if they see ??? (Japan).  
- 
- Note, also, that names in the language of the current page should really be translated for every page where they appear - if you leave them in English it may give the wrong message.
- 
- '''Ordering''' There is also the question of how to order a mutilingual list of language or country names.  It is not an issue that is specific to selection lists, and there is no simple answer to this. 
- 
- 
- === Pros and cons ===
  
  Pull-downs can appear very attractive where space is at a premium.  However, the pull-down menu is not always the best solution for global navigation and you need to decide whether it is the best solution for your Web site.  The following points may help.
  
@@ -83, +40 @@

  
  If your site supports only a handful of localizations, it is probably better to avoid using a pull-down menu altogether and simply include links directly on the page. This gives you more flexibility to use graphics to represent foreign text, avoids the difficulty of finding a suitable non-linguistic label for the list, and allows users to recognize the presence of and link to a page much more quickly.
  
+ There are other techniques, too.  For example, outline maps can be used to select region- or country-based local sites.
+ 
  If your pull-down points to more than 20 other sites or pages you should consider whether this is usable for those Web users who must scroll to the end of the list. If not, you may consider linking to a dedicated global gateway page at the home page level.  If linking between localized versions of specific pages, this may not be a practical solution.
  
- '' should also mention the use of maps as an alternative ''
+ 
+ === Best practises ===
+ 
+ If you do decide to use a pull-down menu, here are some best practices to keep in mind.
+ 
+ '''Location.''' Locate the pull-down menu at or near the top of the page. This location is highly visible, increasing the likelihood that the visitor will see it. Scanning studies for pages in left-to-right scripts show that positioning to the top right increases visibility.  Furthermore, an increasing number of Web sites have located their global gateways in this location, conditioning Web users to come to expect it here.
+ 
+ Certainly avoid putting the list at the bottom of the page so that it is likely to appear below the 'fold'.
+ 
+ '''Labelling.''' Come up with a graphic design to serve as a label for 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. In an ideal world there would be a widely recognized symbol for this. That time is still not here, though globe icons seem to be becoming more popular. 
+ 
+ Examples of possible graphics would include globes, iconic facial profiles with lines to indicate speech, alphabetic characters from multiple scripts (especially for links to translations), etc.
+ 
+ The alt text for such a graphic doesn't have a great deal of importance. You may think that it needs to be in all languages, or no particular language, for accessibility, but in reality people reliant on screen readers would be able to traverse the pull-down text to find the right link.
+ 
+ '''Translate options.''' Translate the menu options into the target language. Instead of including a link on the pull-down menu to a translation that reads, for example, "French" the link should read "français"; and instead of a link to an alternative country site like "Germany" the link should read "Deutschland".
+ 
+ Pay attention to capitalisation rules in other languages. Note how the correct translation of "French" is "français" with a lowercase 'f'.
+ 
+ '''Encoding''' To display a mix of non-Latin languages, such as Arabic, Russian and Japanese, you will need a way to represent all the required characters. 
+ 
+ Preferably you would use UTF-8 (Unicode) as the encoding for your page, since this encoding supports all the characters you will need. If you cannot use UTF-8, then you should use [http://www.w3.org/International/tutorials/tutorial-char-enc/en/all.html#Slide0420 escapes] to represent characters that are not supported by the encoding of your page.
+ 
+ '''Fonts''' You must also think about whether the reader will have fonts to display this range of scripts.  Be aware that a Web user in France, for example, may see empty boxes in place of the Japanese text while the user in Japan will see the text just fine. This is because the fonts available on the French user's system may not contain Japanese glyphs. One could argue that this is not too important, since French users don't need to be able to read the Japanese.  On the other hand, you may feel that empty boxes are unsightly.
+ 
+ If you feel that empty boxes are unsightly you may be tempted to use text in graphics for non-Latin options. Unfortunately, it is not possible to include graphics in the selection list itself, but some sites add such graphics outside the pull-down menu.  
+ 
+  [[http://www.w3.org/International/questions/images/select-non-latin-outside.gif]] 
+ 
+ Be warned, however, that addressing non-Latin text this way may still not solve all problems.  Certain accented Latin characters, such as those in 'čeština' may produce the same effect for some users who have Latin fonts that only cover Western European languages.
+ 
+ 
+ '''Descriptions''' In some cases you may want to consider following a name of a language or country in native script/language with the name in the language of the current page. 
+ 
+ For example: 
+ 
+  français (French)
+ 
+ Using parentheses is useful because it shows more clearly that this is a clarification. 
+ 
+ This approach is not always necessary or desirable. On the other hand users may feel more comfortable with missing font glyphs if they see 
+ 
+  ??? (Japan).  [[RI replace these in the html with a picture of missing glyph glyphs]]
+ 
+ Note, also, that names in the language of the current page should really be translated for every page where they appear - if you leave them in English it may give the wrong message.
+ 
+ '''Using the size attribute''' In some cases it may be effective to use the size attribute to display the first set of options in the list - particularly if this is a long list.  This suggests to the user that this is a collection of languages/regions, and may remove the need for a non-language-specific label for the list.  Here is an example:
+ 
+  [[http://www.w3.org/International/questions/images/select-size-attr.gif]]
+ 
+ '''Ordering''' There is also the question of how to order a mutilingual list of language or country names.  It is not an issue that is specific to selection lists, and there is no simple answer to this. 
+ 
  
  == By the way ==
  
@@ -95, +105 @@

  
  
  
- 
+ NOTE: THE CURRENT ARTICLE ENDS HERE!!
  
  = Comments relevant to other FAQs =
+ 
  
  '''RI: I think we should break out some of the tutorial material about escapes into a couple of FAQs: [1] What is an NCR/entity/escape? [2] When should I use escapes? Any offers? (Hint: it's almost a cut & paste job 
  
Received on Monday, 27 June 2005 17:17:44 UTC

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