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

From: Bruno Girin <Bruno.Girin@cambista.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 13:43:58 +0100
Message-ID: <2D25E0735620544FB83ABA9B07D6AC733C646E@phaal.uk.cambista.net>
To: <www-international-request@w3.org>
Cc: <www-di@w3.org>, <www-international@w3.org>

One issue I have come across regularly is in right-to-left languages
such as Arabic. In this case, the whole flow and layout of the site is
reversed; browsers will put the scrollbar on the left of the window when
you have dir="rtl" in the html tag.

This is particularly obvious on multi-lingual sites where for instance
the English version might have a menu column on the left and the Arabic
version the same menu on the right. This can potentially cause headaches
in terms of code because a lot of CSS properties are absolute rather
than relative to the layout direction (e.g. float:left/right,
margin-left, padding-right, etc.)

Although I have never worked with languages that traditionally display
vertically (i.e. you read columns top to bottom rather than lines), I
suspect you'd want horizontal scrolling. Unfortunately neither HTML nor
CSS support vertical layout.

And that's only for languages still widely used today. Hieroglyphic
scripts such as ancient Maya are even more complex.

Bruno

-----Original Message-----
From: www-international-request@w3.org
[mailto:www-international-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Rotan Hanrahan
Sent: 19 September 2005 11:49
To: www-international@w3.org
Cc: www-di@w3.org
Subject: Web page layouts in different cultures - question from DIWG


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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