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

From: Rotan Hanrahan <Rotan.Hanrahan@MobileAware.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2005 11:39:02 +0100
Message-ID: <D9BC812593BC2E44A803E6765FFA5E2D92D2A2@gpo.mobileaware.com>
To: <www-international@w3.org>, <www-di@w3.org>, <bidi@unicode.org>

Thanks to everyone who has replied to the DIWG request for information on Web page layouts in different cultures.

There appears to be a general feeling that the main layouts are OK, accepting that mirror images will be used in situations where the reading direction is different.

The issue for DIWG is to represent (broadly) the layout of a page, and subsequently to adapt this layout to fit different devices, especially small mobile devices. It is possible that such re-organisation of layouts could be achieved via an enhancement to CSS, which DIWG will be giving some thought to over the coming months.

Meanwhile, there appears to be an opinion that within the broad components of a Web page layout one encounters more subtle issues relating to the way that text is represented. Here are some questions that are layout-related, but are influenced by text representation:

* Western text (e.g. english) uses bullet lists that have the bullets on the left, the text running horizontally and the list growing downward (vertically). What is the case for languages that write text vertically? Or Right-to-Left (RTL)?

* Western text requires several characters per word. So the information is dense vertically, but not so dense horizontally. What is the information density for other languages? Idiographics etc? For example, in english, the phrase "Home Page" fits into a few pixels high, and many more pixels wide, but how does the sample phrase in Chinese compare?

* Are there any special considerations for word-wrapping of vertical text?

* Are there special text layout considerations for ruby annotations?

* Western text often uses coloured underlining to indicate a hyperlink. What is the norm for languages where such lines might not be easy to notice? Are there such languages?

* If users could choose, would they prefer portrait or landscape layouts? How would the rules of their written text influence their preference?

These are just some of the kinds of issues that DIWG participants are considering while we work on the layout concepts. These issues may or may not have an impact on the general layout technology we eventually propose. Nevertheless, we want to be sure that we have as much information as possible while we do this work.

Thank you for your input to date.


Dr Rotan Hanrahan
Chief Innovations Architect
Mobileaware Ltd
3094 Lake Drive
Dublin 24, Ireland
E: rotan.hanrahan@mobileaware.com
W: www.MobileAware.com
Received on Thursday, 22 September 2005 10:37:09 UTC

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