Previewing the 2011 Web Globalization Report Card

I’ve begun work on the 7th edition of the Report Card. To produce this report I individually review more than 200 global web sites across more than 20 industries. Needless to say, I’ve got a busy month ahead!

I’ve already done a first pass on a number of web sites and have some initial thoughts to share:

  • As regular readers know, Google and Facebook finished in a dead heat for first place last year, with Google having a slight advantage. Both companies made significant changes over the past twelve months, changes that promise to make this another photo finish.
  • I’ve noticed an increase in the number of sites using geolocation for navigation. Unfortunately, some of these sites are not using geolocation as well as they should. As I’ve noted in my book, geolocation should never be used without a visual global gateway in place. Geolocation is an excellent tool, but it presents a number of edge cases that only a global gateway can solve.
  • I’ve seen some amazing global gateways so far, and, in some cases, demonstrating vast improvements over previous global gateways. I’ll be documenting a number of these gateways in the report.
  • Companies continue to add languages. After initial analysis, Indonesian is hot, as is Russian and Turkish. Last year, the average number of languages was 20. I suspect we’ll see increase again this year. Keep in mind that this is just the average. Companies like Cisco, Apple, and DHL are well above 20 languages.
  • For last year’s report, I began measuring “community localization” — the integration of social networking platforms into local web sites. I wasn’t just looking at Twitter and Facebook use around the world, but at how companies are fostering communities. I’ve noticed quite a lot of Facebook integration around the world. Below is a home page visual from Samsung Italy:
  • Samsung also promotes its Twitter feed on the home page of its Brazil site. And Samsung is far from alone.
  • Finally, I’m noticing lots and lots of web site surveys.They’re popping up everywhere and in many languages. Somebody please make them stop!

Here is the link to the 2010 Report Card. All companies included in this report will be included in 2011. We’ll have a page for the 2011 report up shortly.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.