W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > whatwg@whatwg.org > November 2004

[whatwg] Localized error messages

From: dolphinling <dolphinling@myrealbox.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2004 11:20:07 -0500
Message-ID: <41A60637.9030104@myrealbox.com>
? wrote:
> Concerning validation error messages, the spec says:
> 
>  > The default action is UA-specific, but is expected to consist of
>  > focusing the element (possibly firing focus events if appropriate),
>  > and alerting the user (ideally using a non-modal mechanism such as a
>  > help balloon) that the entered value is unacceptable in the user's
>  > native language along with explanatory text saying why the value is
>  > currently invalid.
> 
> At first glance it seems reasonable to display errors in the users 
> default locale, the same way that date formats etc. follow the users 
> locale.
> However, it has some ugly consequences when combined with custom 
> validation and hints like the title hint to patterns, since these 
> messages typically will be in the same language as the page.
> 
> Therefore I think the best UI would be to display the messages in the 
> same language as the page, rather that in the users default language. 
> (We may assume that the the user understands the language of the page 
> since the user is in the process of filling out a form on that page)
> 

I disagree. I haven't really looked at this much, but an error message, 
especially one that explains why the value is invalid, would be much 
more helpful in a language the user understands well. And I don't think 
we can assume that the user understands the language of the form 
well--they may have only a basic understanding, or have a guide to 
filling out the form, or not understand for plenty of other reasons.

WRT the "ugly consequences", if this is aesthetic remember that the 
error is coming from the UA, so it's not expected to mesh well with the 
page. If it's not aesthetic I'm not sure what you mean.

Finally, if the page never says what language it is, how is the UA 
supposed to know? That would be a large problem on the majority of the web.
Received on Thursday, 25 November 2004 08:20:07 UTC

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