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Re: Web page layouts in different cultures - question from DIWG

From: Tex Texin <tex@xencraft.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 04:26:01 -0700
Message-ID: <432EA049.41220C70@xencraft.com>
To: Rotan Hanrahan <Rotan.Hanrahan@MobileAware.com>
CC: www-international@w3.org, www-di@w3.org

Use of white space as a section separator and line drawing around sections
are different.

Line drawing is refined art. There is a standard in Japan, called Keisen
which reporting tools etc. are expected to conform too. At least this was
true several years ago when I was working in the space.

White space isn't used the same way for Asia. Perhaps the boxy shape of the
characters makes it less esthetic, but also due to the larger fonts and need
for effective use of the writing surface and getting more text in the space,
large white spaces between sections is not used (and hence the line
drawing).

More of the page space will be devoted to making the user confortable with
the material, rather than simply starting out with a summary statement and
developing logically to a conclusion. This could be more images etc. and may
make for different structures of navigation etc.

As an aside, I think the description of page layouts you offered is only
loosely followed. The need to be distinctive and effective causes the layout
to change among western sites. In particular logo ads are not effective at
the top since people learn not to see them.
And I find navigation etc. also to be all over the map. (hmm, the pun was
not intended.) 
Scrolling is generally vertical, but I saw a very effective use of
horizontal scrolling to represent a timeline on a British site yesterday. (I
can send a link if you want, I didn't think it was a good idea to mention
the link and potentially hammer their site just to see H. Scrolling.)

tex

Rotan Hanrahan wrote:
> 
> At a recent meeting of the Device Independence Working Group (W3C-DIWG) we discussed the issue of page layouts, and how to represent/process them when adapting content for different devices. Our perception of page layouts is based mostly on our Western experience of such pages, as such people are in the majority in our group. Typically: logo and ads on the top, navigation down the left, copyright at the bottom, scrolling the page is vertical etc...
> 
> However, we were concerned that such layouts may not be representative of the non-Western world. I am seeking references to information about this topic. If it turns out that the Western ideas of page layouts are broadly compatible with the ideas of page layout around the world, then there is no issue for us to worry about.
> 
> (For immediate response from DI to any relevant ideas on this issue, please email the www-di public mailing list.)
> 
> Thank you.
> 
> ---Rotan Hanrahan (member DI, chair DD, ACRep MobileAware)

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Xen Master                          http://www.i18nGuy.com
                         
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Making e-Business Work Around the World
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Received on Monday, 19 September 2005 11:26:22 GMT

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