country views on global sites

2 Aug 2006 - 9:25am
8 years ago
5 replies
419 reads
Leah Cunningham
2006

Hi All...

We have a question from a client regarding how a visitor should be directed
to the appropriate country "view" of a global corporate website. The client
operates in about 80 countries, and all will be served from the same web
infrastructure.

It has been requested by the client that whenever we can detect the country
from which the user is comingl, we should "preset" the experience to reflect
that country (local language, offerings, contact info, etc.).

For those visitors whom we cannot detect, we would default them to either
the "universal" or alternately, the US view of the homepage. From there,
they can select another country if they want to.

FYI, we can detect the country based about 80% of the time, based on current
usage stats.

Has anyone had experience with this type of arrangement? Is there any
overriding argument for or against this?

Thanks!

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Comments

2 Aug 2006 - 10:01am
Alain D. M. G. ...
2003

Just make sure that any user can escape easily from that preset
experience. Most countries do not have a single common language (the
US and the UK are exceptions) or neat marketing arrangements for all
goods, despite the united or monobloc facades their governments like to
present to the world. Making it possible and relatively easy to get
info in another language on another country site is a must.

Alain Vaillancourt

> It has been requested by the client that whenever we can detect the
> country
> from which the user is comingl, we should "preset" the experience to
> reflect
> that country (local language, offerings, contact info, etc.).

> Has anyone had experience with this type of arrangement? Is there any
> overriding argument for or against this?
>

__________________________________________________________
Lèche-vitrine ou lèche-écran ?
magasinage.yahoo.ca

2 Aug 2006 - 10:18am
John Grøtting
2006

I have seen a few approaches that can work for this.

Entry page
An entry page can help you capture language and country information
and store that in a cookie. This is good when you aren't able to
determine the country or language of the user. Since it only appears
on the first visit (if they have cookies turned on), it is a minor
annoyance. This is particularly useful for companies where their
customers may not be able to read any English at all and may even
have a non-roman character set.

Localized homepage
Quite often you can detect the country of origin. This will help you
restrict the site to the local languages (official and unofficial).
You will then need to determine if you want all content on the
homepage to be in multiple languages. If you do, often it is helpful
to have one language be English, in case the visitor is coming from a
country such as Japan, but has French as their native language. In
this situation, it is important that any English usage be geared
towards non-native English speakers. This means removing jargon and
using sentence structure that is simple. Here you will need to have a
visible option for the user to change the language of choice.

Either way you will be confronted with how to deal with local content
in the local languages and in one or more additional languages that
are in common usage by your audience.

What is the content of the website? Who is the audience?

John Grøtting

Grøtting + Sauter
Barnerstr. 14B
22765 Hamburg
Germany

Tel +49.40.398.34342
SkypeIn +1.818.574.8440
Fax +49.40.398.34340
Mobile +49.172.4246.976
www.g-s.de
g at g-s.de

Am 02.08.2006 um 17:01 schrieb Alain D. M. G. Vaillancourt:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Just make sure that any user can escape easily from that preset
> experience. Most countries do not have a single common language (the
> US and the UK are exceptions) or neat marketing arrangements for all
> goods, despite the united or monobloc facades their governments
> like to
> present to the world. Making it possible and relatively easy to get
> info in another language on another country site is a must.
>
> Alain Vaillancourt
>
>> It has been requested by the client that whenever we can detect the
>> country
>> from which the user is comingl, we should "preset" the experience to
>> reflect
>> that country (local language, offerings, contact info, etc.).
>
>> Has anyone had experience with this type of arrangement? Is there any
>> overriding argument for or against this?
>>
>
> __________________________________________________________
> Lèche-vitrine ou lèche-écran ?
> magasinage.yahoo.ca
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

2 Aug 2006 - 6:19pm
Peter Bagnall
2003

How are you detecting the country? One approach is to use the IP
address, another approach is to look at the accept-language HTTP
header, which will give you a language, and often a country. the UK
shows up as en-GB, the USA as en-US for example.

So if you use the accept language header (it may be called something
different, I'm offline as I write this) you can often get the country
right as well as the language in those countries that have more than
one.

Of course, you may already be doing this and finding that not
everyone tells their browser where they are or what language they
speak! I'd love to know if that's the case, since I intend to be
using this approach on a site myself soon, as yet I've not tried this
myself, it's pure theory!

Of course it'll never be perfect, but it may get you another few
percent happy users.

Cheers
--Pete

On 2 Aug 2006, at 16:18, John Grøtting wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> I have seen a few approaches that can work for this.
>
> Entry page
> An entry page can help you capture language and country information
> and store that in a cookie. This is good when you aren't able to
> determine the country or language of the user. Since it only appears
> on the first visit (if they have cookies turned on), it is a minor
> annoyance. This is particularly useful for companies where their
> customers may not be able to read any English at all and may even
> have a non-roman character set.
>
> Localized homepage
> Quite often you can detect the country of origin. This will help you
> restrict the site to the local languages (official and unofficial).
> You will then need to determine if you want all content on the
> homepage to be in multiple languages. If you do, often it is helpful
> to have one language be English, in case the visitor is coming from a
> country such as Japan, but has French as their native language. In
> this situation, it is important that any English usage be geared
> towards non-native English speakers. This means removing jargon and
> using sentence structure that is simple. Here you will need to have a
> visible option for the user to change the language of choice.
>
> Either way you will be confronted with how to deal with local content
> in the local languages and in one or more additional languages that
> are in common usage by your audience.
>
> What is the content of the website? Who is the audience?
>
> John Grøtting
>
> Grøtting + Sauter
> Barnerstr. 14B
> 22765 Hamburg
> Germany
>
> Tel +49.40.398.34342
> SkypeIn +1.818.574.8440
> Fax +49.40.398.34340
> Mobile +49.172.4246.976
> www.g-s.de
> g at g-s.de
>
>
> Am 02.08.2006 um 17:01 schrieb Alain D. M. G. Vaillancourt:
>
>> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
>> material.]
>>
>> Just make sure that any user can escape easily from that preset
>> experience. Most countries do not have a single common language (the
>> US and the UK are exceptions) or neat marketing arrangements for all
>> goods, despite the united or monobloc facades their governments
>> like to
>> present to the world. Making it possible and relatively easy to get
>> info in another language on another country site is a must.
>>
>> Alain Vaillancourt
>>
>>> It has been requested by the client that whenever we can detect the
>>> country
>>> from which the user is comingl, we should "preset" the experience to
>>> reflect
>>> that country (local language, offerings, contact info, etc.).
>>
>>> Has anyone had experience with this type of arrangement? Is there
>>> any
>>> overriding argument for or against this?
>>>
>>
>> __________________________________________________________
>> Lèche-vitrine ou lèche-écran ?
>> magasinage.yahoo.ca
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
>> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
>> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

----------------------------------------------------------
It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an
irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.
- Samuel Adams, 1722 - 1803

3 Aug 2006 - 12:35am
John Grøtting
2006

Yes, the IP address is the best way to detect the country. Since a
browser in a laptop moves around quite a bit, it is good to use the
language setting of the browser just to determine the language and
not the country. This method will capture over 90% of your audience
properly. For the rest, you could provide a multilingual language &
country chooser page.

John Grøtting
Grøtting + Sauter
Barnerstr. 14
22605 Hamburg
Germany

MOBILE +49.0172.4246976
TEL +49.40.398.34342
FAX +49.40.398.34340
www.g-s.de

Am 03.08.2006 um 01:19 schrieb Peter Bagnall:

> How are you detecting the country? One approach is to use the IP
> address, another approach is to look at the accept-language HTTP
> header, which will give you a language, and often a country. the UK
> shows up as en-GB, the USA as en-US for example.
>
> So if you use the accept language header (it may be called
> something different, I'm offline as I write this) you can often get
> the country right as well as the language in those countries that
> have more than one.
>
> Of course, you may already be doing this and finding that not
> everyone tells their browser where they are or what language they
> speak! I'd love to know if that's the case, since I intend to be
> using this approach on a site myself soon, as yet I've not tried
> this myself, it's pure theory!
>
> Of course it'll never be perfect, but it may get you another few
> percent happy users.
>
> Cheers
> --Pete
>
> On 2 Aug 2006, at 16:18, John Grøtting wrote:
>
>> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
>> material.]
>>
>> I have seen a few approaches that can work for this.
>>
>> Entry page
>> An entry page can help you capture language and country information
>> and store that in a cookie. This is good when you aren't able to
>> determine the country or language of the user. Since it only appears
>> on the first visit (if they have cookies turned on), it is a minor
>> annoyance. This is particularly useful for companies where their
>> customers may not be able to read any English at all and may even
>> have a non-roman character set.
>>
>> Localized homepage
>> Quite often you can detect the country of origin. This will help you
>> restrict the site to the local languages (official and unofficial).
>> You will then need to determine if you want all content on the
>> homepage to be in multiple languages. If you do, often it is helpful
>> to have one language be English, in case the visitor is coming from a
>> country such as Japan, but has French as their native language. In
>> this situation, it is important that any English usage be geared
>> towards non-native English speakers. This means removing jargon and
>> using sentence structure that is simple. Here you will need to have a
>> visible option for the user to change the language of choice.
>>
>> Either way you will be confronted with how to deal with local content
>> in the local languages and in one or more additional languages that
>> are in common usage by your audience.
>>
>> What is the content of the website? Who is the audience?
>>
>> John Grøtting
>>
>> Grøtting + Sauter
>> Barnerstr. 14B
>> 22765 Hamburg
>> Germany
>>
>> Tel +49.40.398.34342
>> SkypeIn +1.818.574.8440
>> Fax +49.40.398.34340
>> Mobile +49.172.4246.976
>> www.g-s.de
>> g at g-s.de
>>
>>
>> Am 02.08.2006 um 17:01 schrieb Alain D. M. G. Vaillancourt:
>>
>>> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
>>> material.]
>>>
>>> Just make sure that any user can escape easily from that preset
>>> experience. Most countries do not have a single common language
>>> (the
>>> US and the UK are exceptions) or neat marketing arrangements for all
>>> goods, despite the united or monobloc facades their governments
>>> like to
>>> present to the world. Making it possible and relatively easy to get
>>> info in another language on another country site is a must.
>>>
>>> Alain Vaillancourt
>>>
>>>> It has been requested by the client that whenever we can detect the
>>>> country
>>>> from which the user is comingl, we should "preset" the
>>>> experience to
>>>> reflect
>>>> that country (local language, offerings, contact info, etc.).
>>>
>>>> Has anyone had experience with this type of arrangement? Is
>>>> there any
>>>> overriding argument for or against this?
>>>>
>>>
>>> __________________________________________________________
>>> Lèche-vitrine ou lèche-écran ?
>>> magasinage.yahoo.ca
>>> ________________________________________________________________
>>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>>> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
>>> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
>>> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>>> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>>> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>>> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>>> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
>> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
>> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------
> It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an
> irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.
> - Samuel Adams, 1722 - 1803
>
>

3 Aug 2006 - 1:09am
Steve Baty
2009

Leah,

I would second the notion that the user should easily be able to change the
'preset' settings you assign when/if you can detect their country &
language. I've seen quite a few corporate networks configured such that
traffic is always routed externally through a single corporate
firewall/proxy server, and it's that server which will provide you with the
IP address and other indications of locale. For example, we have some
clients here in Australia whose traffic is routed within their corporate
network to London/Birmingham before heading off the desired site; another
that routes through Singapore. We also have a client in Hong Kong whose
mainland China users appear as HK traffic.

A similar issue exists (or at least did) with AOL users, who all tended to
appear as originating in Virginia, US, regardless of their physical
location, as they were routed through AOL's proxy server farm there.

So, although you may be able to determine a locale, it might not always
correspond correctly to the user's actual location, so an easy 'out' for the
user is essential.

On the plus side, I think this form of 'helpfulness' on your part is a
positive. A good portion of users will end up at the correctly designated
version of the site, and they'll be one step closer to being able to use
your site effectively.

Another consideration would be to ensure that you can 'remember' the user's
selection for their next visit so that, if they have changed away from your
predicted preferences, they won't have to go through the same exercise
again.

If you are going to automatically direct the visitor towards a
country-specific version of the site, I think it's important that each
version of the site contain much the same information, if localised.

Finally, you should try and respect a direct URL even if it appears to be
from the 'wrong' country for that visitor. i.e. if I send someone a link to
a specific page within your site on, say, the English version for France,
they should be taken to that same version of the page even if they appear to
be located in Hong Kong (for example).

Best Regards,

Steve Baty

On 03/08/06, Leah Cunningham <lcunningham at sequelstudio.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Has anyone had experience with this type of arrangement? Is there any
> overriding argument for or against this?
>
>
----------------------------------------------
Steve 'Doc' Baty B.Sc (Maths), M.EC, MBA
Director, User Experience Strategy
Red Square
P: +612 8289 4930
M: +61 417 061 292

Member, UPA - www.upassoc.org
Member, IxDA - www.ixda.org
Member, Web Standards Group - www.webstandardsgroup.org

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