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CHI-WEB  November 1999, Week 5

CHI-WEB November 1999, Week 5

Subject:

Summary: standards for dividing the world

From:

Marc Crawford <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Marc Crawford <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 24 Nov 1999 18:02:09 EST

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (85 lines)

I would like to thank everybody who gave me input on my request. Glad to get
some input from non-U.S. list members, too :)

Here was the core of my request:
"We are currently redesigning a large corporate Web site, and were wondering
if there is a standard way of dividing the world into clearly defined
regions, e.g. Africa, Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Middle East.
Is it possibly better to list all relevant countries or regions? Such a
detailed view would most likely lead to a long list"

Summary: there were a few detailed suggestions for lists, the note  that
most users will not understand the division you choose due to ambiguities
and cultural differences, the suggestion to provide alternate methods (e.g.
a list *and* a map), and the statement:
"This is a generally a strategic corporate decision affecting all aspects of
the company."

Here they are in detail:

1) "If you had to do a list, I would break out Asia, Pacific, and
Australia and New Zealand from "Asia Pacific"."

2) "I just finished a major web project here at Motorola, and we
have a regional breakdown (actually the entire company follows this model):

Americas (everything BUT the US)
        North America
        Latin America/Cariabean
        North South America
        South South America
US
EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa)
        Western Europe
        Eastern Europe
        Middle East
        Africa
Asia
        China
        Japan
        Korea
        The rest of it."

3) "In my experience, most (American) companies tend to divide their offices
into: North America, South America, EMEA (Europe + Middle East + Africa),
and Asia Pacific.
Problem is, that most users won't necessarily understand that division (e.g.
most Europeans would not understand "EMEA"). When it comes to your
geographic/continental regions, there are also ambiguities for some
countries (e.g. Turkey is actually located
across both Europe and Asia geographically, and what about former East Block
countries?).
There also seem to be cultural differences (e.g. in England "Asian" is often
synonymous with Inda/Pakistan, whereas in US it mostly seems to imply
Chinese/Japanese).
My suggestion would be to allow alternative selections, if at all possible
(e.g. geographic list, imagemap, country list, etc.)"


4+5) Two people were  in favor of maps rather than lists. One response was:
"I think that http://www.epson.com does a great job of portraying the major
countries that are relevant."

Finally a completely different, but quite interesting, response:

6) "Having worked on sw internationalization and localization projects for
countless companies over 10 years, I can assure you that there is no
standard way in place. This is a generally a strategic corporate decision
affecting all aspects of the company. So you will have to look at how the
company views itself and acts. Getting it wrong can doom the web site
because you can create all kinds of internal and channel conflicts that will
be a disaster. Getting it right will cause everybody to cooperate. But it is
going to be a case by case basis."


Note: I was curious how another one of our major clients, IBM, lists
countries, and noticed that it seems to be different from site to site, some
lists start with "United States", some with "select a country", and I even
encountered typos ("Asean")...
My former company lists "International" (as default), on its site
http://www.sap.com/ -- seems like a polite thing to do :)


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