references for designing international interfaces?

19 Oct 2005 - 1:43pm
8 years ago
5 replies
601 reads
mtumi
2004

Hi all -

Wondering if anyone could recommend any good resources or give any
good advice on designing UIs with localization to different languages
in mind. There's a big difference in word length between Chinese and
German. :-)

Thanks -

Michael

PS: as an aside, if anyone knows any cross-platform GUI programmers,
my company is hiring. Not Flash - something meatier, like QT or
wxWindows.

--

Michael Tuminello
Director, Product Management
Horizon Wimba - Reach Beyond the Classroom

520 8th Avenue, Suite 2300
New York, NY 10018
P: 212-813-3873
F: 212-533-6041
http://www.horizonwimba.com

Comments

19 Oct 2005 - 2:59pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Michael, from a GUI perspective, I know that Alan Marcus has done some work
in this area. Recently gave a talk on it at Parsons.

Google his stuff.

-- dave

Ps. Your results would be a great addition to the resources.ixda.org space.

On 10/19/05 2:43 PM, "Michael Tuminello" <mt at motiontek.com> wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> Hi all -
>
> Wondering if anyone could recommend any good resources or give any
> good advice on designing UIs with localization to different languages
> in mind. There's a big difference in word length between Chinese and
> German. :-)
>
> Thanks -
>
> Michael
>
> PS: as an aside, if anyone knows any cross-platform GUI programmers,
> my company is hiring. Not Flash - something meatier, like QT or
> wxWindows.

-- dave

David Heller
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixdg.org/
Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com

19 Oct 2005 - 2:10pm
LukeW
2004

Hi Michael,
I wrote up some of my thoughts on this topic not too long ago.
There should be several links within the following post that might be
useful:
http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?152

Also, this article on Japanese Web typography may be relevant:
http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?111

Thanks~
_____________

"For starters, non-English content tends to be longer than its
English counterpart. In French and German, character length averages
30-50% more than English and can easily be 100% longer for short
phrases. Chinese and Japanese, on the other hand, are often shorter
and require unique typographic treatments. This requires very
flexible layout designs (to accommodate changing line lengths and
heights) or unique layout solutions for different locales.

Right-to-left vs. Left-to-right reading variations between cultures
also impact interface design solutions. Usability by Design recently
pointed out that interface layouts that are simply translated from
left-to-right languages to right-to-left languages introduce problems
with visibility. Users simply don’t see (and therefore don’t
consider) controls or options due to their positioning.

Labels can also be quite problematic as translation processes often
lack the context behind content selections and thereby result in non-
standard or confusing terminology for users. As anyone that has sat
through a usability test or two can testify, confusing or non-
descriptive terms on category labels and calls to action are some of
the most common usability problems. This issue can be multiplied by
out of context translations. Peter Van Dijck recently outlined some
general translation problems that can lead to confusing
categorization..."
_____________

On Oct 19, 2005, at 11:43 AM, Michael Tuminello wrote:
> Wondering if anyone could recommend any good resources or give any
> good advice on designing UIs with localization to different languages
> in mind. There's a big difference in word length between Chinese and
> German. :-)
>
> Thanks -
>
> Michael

::
:: Luke Wroblewski -[ www.lukew.com ]
:: Principal, LukeW Interface Designs
:: luke at lukew.com | 408.879.9826
::

19 Oct 2005 - 3:17pm
mtumi
2004

thanks a lot - this is much appreciated. I have seen in a few places
the suggestion that one substitute tooltips for icon labels, thus
avoiding layout issues. This seems to walk right off the path of
usable design, but it is tempting as a sweeping and easy to implement
solution.

Any thoughts on that or any other input appreciated. thanks again.

Michael

On Oct 19, 2005, at 3:10 PM, LukeW wrote:

> Hi Michael,
> I wrote up some of my thoughts on this topic not too long ago.
> There should be several links within the following post that might
> be useful:
> http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?152
>
> Also, this article on Japanese Web typography may be relevant:
> http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?111
>
> Thanks~
> _____________
>
> "For starters, non-English content tends to be longer than its
> English counterpart. In French and German, character length
> averages 30-50% more than English and can easily be 100% longer for
> short phrases. Chinese and Japanese, on the other hand, are often
> shorter and require unique typographic treatments. This requires
> very flexible layout designs (to accommodate changing line lengths
> and heights) or unique layout solutions for different locales.
>
> Right-to-left vs. Left-to-right reading variations between cultures
> also impact interface design solutions. Usability by Design
> recently pointed out that interface layouts that are simply
> translated from left-to-right languages to right-to-left languages
> introduce problems with visibility. Users simply don’t see (and
> therefore don’t consider) controls or options due to their
> positioning.
>
> Labels can also be quite problematic as translation processes often
> lack the context behind content selections and thereby result in
> non-standard or confusing terminology for users. As anyone that has
> sat through a usability test or two can testify, confusing or non-
> descriptive terms on category labels and calls to action are some
> of the most common usability problems. This issue can be multiplied
> by out of context translations. Peter Van Dijck recently outlined
> some general translation problems that can lead to confusing
> categorization..."

20 Oct 2005 - 4:35am
Lada Gorlenko
2004

MT> Wondering if anyone could recommend any good resources or give any
MT> good advice on designing UIs with localization to different languages
MT> in mind.

1. Nuray Aykin (2005) Usability and Internationalization of
Information Technology.
[amazon.com only stocks very expensive hardcopy, shop european amazons
for much cheaper paperbacks]

Highly recommend to anyone involved in internationalisation and
cross-cultural design. Topics covered:
- Where to start and what to consider
- Guidelines for international information display
- UI design and culture
- Literature review on cultural values
- Managing multicultural content in the global enterprise
- Graphics for international audiences
- Key issues and decisions in planning international user studies
- Cost-justifying usability engineering for cross-cultural UI design

Good web resources:
1. http://www.globalization.com/index.cfm
Portal to information about globalisation, internationalisation,
localisation and translation

2. W3C Internationalization Activity
http://www.w3.org/International/

3. ICU (International Components for Unicode) User Guide
http://icu.sourceforge.net/userguide/i18n.html

4. I18N-guy
http://www.i18nguy.com/
An extensive collection of topics and links

5. http://www.amanda.com/
Aaron Marcus's article on cultural dimensions and web design

There are plenty of others, but these will give you a good overview of
the issues from different perspectives.

Lada

21 Oct 2005 - 2:34pm
Andrew Otwell
2004

You probably mean Aaron Marcus, right?

http://www.amanda.com/

> Michael, from a GUI perspective, I know that Alan Marcus has done
> some work in this area. Recently gave a talk on it at Parsons.
>>>
>>> Wondering if anyone could recommend any good resources or give
>>> any good advice on designing UIs with localization to different
>>> languages in mind. There's a big difference in word length
>>> between Chinese and German. :-)

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