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RE: valid locales ---> was Re: bilingual websites

From: Barry Caplan <bcaplan@i18n.com>
Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 08:13:03 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: "Suzanne M. Topping" <stopping@bizwonk.com>, <www-international@w3.org>, "Nelocsig (E-mail)" <nelocsig@yahoogroups.com>
Suzanne -

I think the answer is "it depends". allow me to explain....

How many people ever change their default settings for locale info in 
Windows, for example? I would guess very few, relatively speaking. this 
would be because:

1- Microsoft almost always gets it exactly right
2 - It is almost always "close enough"
3 - It is really hard to find, and once found, confusing to change.

Now, does every application need to duplicate that functionality? 
Personally, I think some apps should, and some shouldn't. Even if they do, 
would they be able to do a better job? What locales settings are available 
in browsers are not exactly beacons of usability either.

I think the decision in practice should be based on whether or not, among 
the tasks the user uses the program for, adjusting locale settings is 
reasonably among them. For some products, it may be better to market 
separate versions with pre-configured (and maybe fixed) locale or locales, 
and for some it may be better to allow the user to change it at will.

As an example of the former, it would make little business sense for any 
software built into imode phones to have selectable locales (time zones, 
language, etc) because all users are in one time zone, and the overwhelming 
majority are native Japanese speakers. Same for any sw that drives the 
imode network itself.Of course if the imode service is ever rolled out 
elsewhere, this needs to be reconsidered, but for now, why bother?


At 10:23 AM 11/7/2001 -0500, Suzanne M. Topping wrote:
>Questions about this topic came up recently on another list, and caused
>me to wonder if it might be "better" to offer user selectable options
>for various locale-related functions, rather than trying to devise what
>individual preferences or requirements might be?
>For example, UIs could default to the language used by the operating
>system, and could start with "default" formatting etc. settings based on
>the OS as well. But perhaps for optimal user satisfaction, we should
>offer dropdowns next to date, time, currency, address, title etc. fields
>which would allow users to choose how they wanted data displayed, and
>have the formats changed on the fly.
Received on Wednesday, 7 November 2001 11:14:17 UTC

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