Language negotiation in a mobile world: Improving the global user experience

Language negotiation is the process of detecting the language setting of a web browser and responding with the matching language, if available. Companies such as Google and Facebook have used language negotiation with great success over the years.

In the 2011 Web Globalization Report Card, just 12% of the 250 web sites studied support language negotiation. While this is an increase from the previous year it is still too low.

As more and more people surf the web using mobile devices, the “business case” for supporting language negotiation grows more acute. After all, do you really want your users to fumble over a “select language” pull down menu on their mobile devices? Why not just give these users the language they want and save them time and create a better user experience.

To demonstrate, I’ve created a short video in which I use the iPhone to visit four web sites: Google, Xbox, Nike, and Apple. You may be surprised by which of these companies does not support language negotiation.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EE6lvXTF7c’]

To learn more about language negotiation and best practices in global navigation, check out my book: The Art of the Global Gateway.

I hope you find this video useful, and I welcome input and suggestions for future demos.

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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.