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Web Usability International Design


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Web Usability International Design

  1. 2. International use <ul><li>In 1997 USA and Canada accounted for around 80% of total web population. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1999, the proportion is 55% to 45%. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2000, the proportion was 50/50. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2005, approximately only 20% of users are in North America. </li></ul><ul><li>The rest of users are in different countries around the world. </li></ul><ul><li>This suggests designers to pay more attention to the problem of international use of their Web sites. </li></ul>
  2. 3. Internationalization vs. localization <ul><li>Traditional software development distinguishes between internationalization and localization. </li></ul><ul><li>Internationalization refers to having a single design that can be used world-wide. </li></ul><ul><li>Localization refers to making an adapted version of that design for a specific locale. </li></ul><ul><li>Internationalization involves the use of simpler language that can be understood by non-native speakers, whereas localization often involves translation. </li></ul><ul><li>For the Web, it makes sense to internationalize sites rather than localizing them. </li></ul>
  3. 4. Designing for internationalization <ul><li>Most of internationalization guidelines are the same for the Web as for traditional SE. </li></ul><ul><li>E.g., don’t use icons that give your users the finger (or other gesture that are offensive in their culture). </li></ul><ul><li>In two aspects, it is easier to design international user interfaces for the Web: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>HTML has had many international character codes ( ü, é, and ø, for example ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web pages don’t follow a strict WYSIWYG layout, it becomes easier to translate designs into expansive languages like German. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 5. Designing for internationalization (continued) <ul><li>On the Web, pages can be translated into other languages, and their layout will automatically adjust. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember not to “overdesign” that the page will not work if some words are pushed around or if some table cells become a little wider. </li></ul><ul><li>A new concern for the Web and the Internet is that international networking allows real-time interactions. </li></ul>
  5. 6. Designing for internationalization (continued) <ul><li>Any times listed on a web page should either be given in the 24-hour system or make clear AM/PM. </li></ul><ul><li>Time zone could also be specified. Possibly with a reference to GMT. But many users do not understand GMT either. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, you could state “The press conference starts 1p.m. in New York (GMT-5), corresponding to 19:00 in Paris and 3:00 the next day in Tokyo”. </li></ul><ul><li>The date of an event should not be given in the notation 4/5. Instead spell out the month (4-th May). </li></ul><ul><li>Currency ($1,000 versus €1.000), the currency symbol; and units of measurement (miles vs. kilometres). </li></ul>
  6. 7. Domains <ul><li>There is a question what is better to get a domain ending in .com or to use the country’s own domain (.uk, .fi, etc.). </li></ul><ul><li>Unfortunately, many users have been trained to view “.com” as the standard ending for commercial websites. </li></ul><ul><li>Suggestions from J.Nielsen: </li></ul><ul><li>For a site that uses English and is clearly worldwide in its appeal and user base, get a “.com” domain. </li></ul><ul><li>For a site that uses any other language, use the appropriate country domain ending. </li></ul><ul><li>For a site that has mainly local appeal, covers mainly local issues, or sells local products, use the country domain, no matter what language is used on the site. </li></ul>
  7. 8. International inspection <ul><li>International inspection is a great way of ensuring international usability of a web design. </li></ul><ul><li>It involves having people (preferably usability specialists) from multiple countries look over your design and analyze whether they think it would cause any problems in their country. </li></ul><ul><li>International inspection is partly guess-work because it does not involve real users doing real tasks with the system, but at least it results in educated guesses. </li></ul><ul><li>Getting an international feedback at the early stage is important (bigger chances to catch usability problems). </li></ul>
  8. 9. Translated & multilingual sites <ul><li>The main way of localizing websites is to translate them into the most commonly used languages. </li></ul><ul><li>By analyzing your server logs, you can see whether there are any countries with a substantial number of users. These are candidates for a translation. </li></ul><ul><li>Also, if you logs tells you that certain countries are under-represented relative to their size and number of Internet users then you may also have identified a candidate for translation. </li></ul><ul><li>Companies, lacking resources, apply a hybrid model (some pages are translated, and some are not). </li></ul>
  9. 10. Language choice <ul><li>In many ways, the ideal international user interface is one that is available in the user’s preferred language. </li></ul><ul><li>Many websites use manual options for language selection. </li></ul><ul><li>Three common ways of implementing language choice: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To use a starting page </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To have a language menu on the home page </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To have a language menu on all subsequent pages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The first options is preferred unless there is no possibility of deciding on a default language. </li></ul>
  10. 11. Language choice <ul><li>To choose between a small number of languages, it is recommended listing the name of each language as a word, using each language’s own name for itself, for example, English-Fran çais. </li></ul><ul><li>The most frequently used visual symbol for a language is probably a flag, but unfortunately flags represent countries and not languages. </li></ul><ul><li>Some languages are spoken in many countries and some countries have many spoken languages. </li></ul><ul><li>Often, it is probably best to avoid icons for languages and simply list them by name English flag (red cross on a white background). </li></ul>
  11. 12. Language choice <ul><li>The user should always be given the option to reconsider the choice of language on subsequent pages. </li></ul><ul><li>Users may want to change language in case they are capable of reading multiple languages and they feel that the transition of a certain page into their preferred language is poorly done. </li></ul><ul><li>Different URLs should be used for the different translations of the same content so that users can bookmark the proper entry point and bypass language choice if they visit again. </li></ul>
  12. 13. International user testing <ul><li>It is recommended to perform international usability testing with users from a few countries in different parts of the world. </li></ul><ul><li>Two fundamentals of international user testing are: to involve real users and have them do real tasks without your help. </li></ul><ul><li>The optimal solution is to cover all countries in which you have significant activities. </li></ul><ul><li>The typical solution is to evaluate international usability in a few countries with at least one country in each of the main areas of the world. </li></ul>
  13. 14. Methods of testing <ul><li>The five main ways to conduct international user testing include the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Go to the foreign country yourself </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Run the test remotely </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hire a local usability consultant to run the test </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have staff from your local branch office run the test, even though they are not trained in usability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have the user performs a self-administered test without supervision </li></ul></ul>
  14. 15. Conclusions <ul><li>Countries are different and people from different countries are different. </li></ul><ul><li>Users from around the world will use your website differently. </li></ul><ul><li>It is important to pay attention to international usability. </li></ul><ul><li>You can’t provide ideal international usability the first time. </li></ul><ul><li>You can start with one country, but it is important to start. </li></ul><ul><li>Eventually, international usability will be a requirement for success on the Internet. </li></ul><ul><li>Sites will die if they don’t provide high-quality service in multiple countries. </li></ul>