Global Gateway

Strategies for Successful Multilingual Navigation
The Art
John Yunker
of the
The Art of the Global Gateway
Secrets of Successful Multilingual Navigation
Second Edition
Publisher
Byte Level Books
www.bytelevelbooks.com
Copyright © 2010 John Yunker
All rights reserved
ISBN 978-0-9796475-3-6
First Edition 2006
Second Edition 2010
All trademarks, screen shots, and logos are the property of their respec-
tive owners. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or
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wise), without the prior written permission of Byte Level Books.
Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate
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The Art of the Global Gateway
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Contents
Welcome, Benvenuto, Bienvenida… ........................................................... 5
About this book ............................................................................................ 7
First Things First ....................................................................................... 9
One Internet, many languages ................................................................... 10
Elements of Global Navigation ............................................................... 16
Country codes: Local “front doors” ........................................................... 18
The global gateway: What users see ......................................................... 27
The splash global gateway ................................................................. 28
The permanent global gateway ............................................................ 37
Global gateway icons .......................................................................... 40
The language/country menu ................................................................ 42
Mapping the global gateway ............................................................... 59
Language negotiation ................................................................................. 65
Web browsers and language settings ................................................... 69
Geolocation: We know where you live ..................................................... 76
Global Gateway Best Practices ............................................................... 85
Translate the gateway, but don’t overtranslate ........................................... 86
Wave fags with caution ............................................................................. 89
Be careful what you call “country” ............................................................ 94
Pull-down menus don’t scale ..................................................................... 95
Don’t play favorites (or favourites) ........................................................... 97
Icons speak louder than words ................................................................ 101
Use as little text as necessary ................................................................... 102
Use the “sweet spot” ................................................................................ 103
Use Unicode ............................................................................................. 104
Place usability ahead of creativity ........................................................... 106
Don’t pretend you speak languages that you don’t .................................. 109
Global gateways shouldn’t make you think ..............................................111
The Art of the Global Gateway
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Keep legalese to a minimum .................................................................... 113
Embedded text is untranslated text .......................................................... 115
Don’t put age before language ................................................................. 117
*OREDO*DWHZD\3UR¿OHV ........................................................................ 120
IKEA ........................................................................................................ 121
GE ............................................................................................................ 124
Google ...................................................................................................... 129
Xbox ......................................................................................................... 133
Spanish-Language Gateways for the US .............................................. 136
What’s the URL? ...................................................................................... 137
Spanish-language gateways ..................................................................... 141
Trending Now: Mobile Devices and Social Media .............................. 148
The global gateway and mobile devices .................................................. 149
The global gateway and social media ...................................................... 162
Developing a Global Gateway Strategy ............................................... 172
Of big steps and baby steps ...................................................................... 173
Case Study: The growth of a global gateway .......................................... 175
Global gateway FAQ ................................................................................ 182
Global gateway checklist ......................................................................... 184
Terminology ............................................................................................. 189
Selected Country Codes ........................................................................... 193
About the author ...................................................................................... 195
The Art of the Global Gateway
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Welcome, Benvenuto, Bienvenida…
A global gateway is the initial point of contact between your web site and
the worldit is. in eIIect. a web user`s frst impression. And as the old
saying goes: You dont get a second chance to make a hrst impression. To
truly welcome visitors to your web site, you’ll need a welcoming global
gateway.
In 2006. I published the frst edition oI The Art of the Global Gatewav,
which has been used by hundreds oI companies to make signifcant im-
provements to their global gateways. And yet there is still much work to
be done. And much has changed since 2006.
This second edition is more than an update. It has been expanded to ad-
dress the emergence of mobile apps and social media such as Twitter and
Facebook. And it offers a number of new best practices that have evolved
over the years.
The information in this book is based on more than ten years spent study-
ing the evolution of global navigation, learning what works and what
doesn’t, and directly helping companies improve their gateways.
You’ll learn techniques and recommendations that have helped hundreds
oI companies increase traIfc to their local web sites. Some recommenda-
tions are easy to implement; some take more time and investment. But all
are designed to help you create a more globally usable navigation strategy.
Web globalization is a journey, not a destination. As companies continue
The Art of the Global Gateway
6
to add new languages and enter new markets, the global gateway will also
continue to evolve. So prepare yourself for a journey, an exciting one.
And get ready to develop a global gateway that will always make an ex-
cellent frst impression.
John Yunker
jyunker@bytelevel.com
The Art of the Global Gateway
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About this book
A global gateway may seem like a relatively trivial design element, but
there is a great deal of complexity involved in getting it right, and this
book is designed to help you do just that. Global gateways, well executed,
can improve traIfc to localized web sites Irom 5° to as much as 25°.
From the visuals to the text strings to the server-side technologies, there
are many moving pieces. And global gateways rarely remain static over
time; they must evolve to support additional languages and changing user
expectations. This second edition of The Art of the Global Gatewav ad-
dresses new and emerging trends, like social media and mobile apps, as
well as pulls data from The 2010 Web Globalization Report Card, which
benchmarks more than 200 global web sites across 21 industry verticals
and includes global navigation as one of its key metrics. And, of course,
nearly every screen shot in this edition has been updated or is brand new.
Who is this book for?
This book is for web designers, copywriters, marketers, localization ven-
dors, project managers, and developers. In other words, this book is for
those who create web sites and applications and those who take them
global.
While this book addresses technical aspects of the global gateway, it is
more strategic than technical. Most global gateway best practices have
to do more with the user interface (UI) than with the underlying tech-
nologies. That said, it’s important that you have a solid understanding of
The Art of the Global Gateway
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HTML and how web servers present content to clients. If you have ques-
tions about a specifc term. please reIer to the terminology section at the
end of the book.
And while the global gateway should above all be functional, it also must
integrate well with the overall site, and the word art is in the title for a
reason. You’ll discover that, from icons to interactive elements, there are a
lot of choices to make when developing a global gateway. Despite a num-
ber of established best practices, each company has its own unique needs
and audience. so there`s no 'one size fts all¨ gatewayand there is even
room for a little creativity.
The Art of the Global Gateway
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First Things First
It was back in 1999 that I frst used the term 'global gateway.¨ At the time.
I was referring to a pull-down menu a company was using on its web site.
And the term stuck.
But it has also evolved. Today, a global gateway is so much more than a
pull-down menu. It is an umbrella term for the visual and technical ele-
ments you employ to direct users to their localized web sites and applica-
tions.
This section will give you a general overview of the important role of the
global gateway, as well as introduce a few key elements to keep in mind
before you get into the nitty-gritty of strategizing and developing your
own gateway.
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One Internet, many languages
The Internet now connects more than 1.7 billion people around the world.
Most of these Internet users do not live in the United States. And most do
not speak English as a native language.
Source. Internet World Stats
Every year. an additional 100 million people go online Ior the very frst
time, most of whom also do not live in the US or speak English.
Not surprisingly, companies have responded to the changing mix of Inter-
net users by localizing their web sites and applications.
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As noted in The 2010 Web Globalization Report Card, the average num-
ber of languages supported by large multinationals is now 20, up from 12
iust fve years ago.
Apple, for example, has doubled the number of languages it supports on
its web site over the past three years, to 24 today. And Facebook exploded
from two languages to more than 70 in less than two years.
Speaking in tongues
While web globalization opens your web site to the world, it also opens
you up to a number of new challenges, namely how to ensure that visitors,
no matter what language they speak. can fnd their local content. This is
why the global gateway is so important.
Well executed, the global gateway functions like a multilingual tour guide,
helping people fnd exactly where they need to go.
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Global navigation isn’t just about usability—it’s about getting the most
out oI your translation dollars. II people can`t fnd your localized content.
it may as well not exist.
What should a good global gateway do?
At a minimum, an effective global gateway must accomplish the follow-
ing:
ŹThe global gateway must be easy to fnd and use. no matter what
language the user speaks. The gateway should not display prefer-
ence for any one country/region or language.
ŹThe global gateway must display the user’s current language/
country settings.
ŹThe global gateway must give users the ability to change their
language/country preference.
The frst step toward developing a successIul gateway is to begin thinking
about your customers and potential customers and how they navigate to
your web site. Where do they live? What languages do they speak? What
search engines do they use? The answers will infuence the strategy you
ultimately develop.
The Art of the Global Gateway
13
Language and location
Successful global navigation requires understanding the complex rela-
tionship between language and location (for our purposes here, “location”
is synonymous with “country/region”).
It’s natural to try to combine language and location when thinking about
global gateways, such as Spanish/Spain, French/France, and German/
Germany. But things are not always this simple. There is also Spanish/
US, French/Switzerland, and German/Switzerland. And if you decided to
oIIer an English-language site Ior the Netherlands. what favor oI English
would it be?
To further complicate matters, location alone be quite elastic and may
be broad ('Europe¨). more specifc ('France¨). or highly specifc (Irom
“Burgundy” to the exact location of an individual’s mobile phone).
To develop the best global gateway for your company—and, by exten-
sion, your customers—consider the following.
Is your company language-oriented or location-
oriented?
Companies that have a more “borderless” relationship with customers are
more likely to take a language-based approach, such as hotel chains and
social networking applications.
As one example, the Twitter gateway, shown on the following page, takes
a language-oriented approach. And by contrast, eBay takes a location-
oriented approach.
The Art of the Global Gateway
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eBay: Select Country/Region Twitter: Select Language
The prime advantage of leading with language is that languages often
extend well beyond borders. For example, a web site in “Español” may
communicate to residents of Spain, Latin America, and more than 30 mil-
lion residents of the US.
However. iI your company already has oIfces in a number oI diIIerent
countries, country/region may play a more important role. In fact, the
majority of companies take a geographic approach to web globalization.
Some companies begin with regional home pages, such as “European”
and “Asian” web sites. Others translate web content based on local of-
fces.
There is no right or wrong approach, but it’s important to understand a
few key issues:
ŹBecause any one region (such as Europe) may include many lan-
guages, there is no one language that can be used on a regional
web page that addresses all residents of that region. Many regional
web pages tend to be in English, which may work for companies
The Art of the Global Gateway
15
that target business executives who have a working knowledge of
English, but it is not a viable consumer approach.
ŹA Spanish-language web site may, as mentioned above, com-
municate to residents of Spain, Latin America, and more than 30
million residents of the US—but this seemingly extensive reach
comes with varying degrees of success. This is because many lan-
guages—such as Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, or even
Englishhave diIIerent favors based on the countries in which
they’re spoken.
ŹYour company’s global gateway will likely evolve over time, and
you’ll want to prepare for this. You may begin with a language-
oriented approach as you begin globalization with fve to 10 lan-
guages. Over time, as you add languages and begin to invest in
local markets, be prepared to migrate to a more location-oriented
approach. This is a natural process that many global gateways fol-
low.
The Art of the Global Gateway
16
Elements of Global
Navigation
There are many elements you can employ to help users fnd their localized
content. This section explains the four major elements:
ŹCountry codes
ŹThe global gateway
ŹGeolocation
ŹLanguage negotiation
The following exhibit provides an overview of these four elements. Keep
in mind that a web site might utilize only the global gateway and still be
quite successful. The global gateway is the one element you should con-
sider mandatory.
The Art of the Global Gateway
17
Elements of Global Navigation
The gateway refers to the
visual elements that a user
interacts with to set or change
content preferences.
Country code top-level
domains (ccTLDs) take users
directly to local content.
Non-Latin domains are also
slowly coming online.
Geolocation
Language Negotiation
Global Gateway
Country Codes
.jp .it .br
.za
ɪɮ
acme.com/de
The web server detects a
user’s location based on
device IP address and
responds with location-
specific content.
Web server detects the
language preference of
the web browser and
responds with matching
language, if available.
3
1
2
4
68.111.145.24
www.acme.de
lang=“de”
The Art of the Global Gateway
195
About the author
John Yunker pioneered the development of best practices in global navigation
and, over the years, he has helped hundreds of companies improve their global
gateways. In 2002. John authored the frst book devoted to the emerging feld oI
web globalization, Bevond Borders. Web Globalization Strategies.
As co-founder of Byte Level Research, John has authored a number of land-
mark reports, including The Web Globalization Report Card and Twittering in
Tongues. For more information, visit www.bytelevel.com.
The Art of the Global Gateway
196
Additional Products and Services
The 2010 Web Globalization Report Card
www.bytelevel.com/reportcard2010/
Twittering in Tongues
How companies are going global with Twitter
www.bytelevel.com/reports/twitter/
Country Codes of the World Map
www.bytelevel.com/map/ccTLD.html
Byte Level offers in-house web globalization and navigation training
services. For more information, please contact us at reports@byte-
level.com.