Using plain language and developing solutions that reflect the user’s world are some of the long-laid foundations of software user experience (UX). These days we might talk more about context and storytelling as part of our UX communications strategy than usability heuristics, but the message is the same: talk to your users in way that relates to them.
What’s in a name? It depends. Some good advice from Paul Tomkiel helps you architecture that software the right way for global users.
Paul writes a very compelling article about how to architecture software for the entering and storing of user names in a way that work globally. He’s aimed this important piece at developers using clear, plain language that they’ll understand. Chances are they will read it.
Naturally, Paul begins with a story we can relate to. In my own experience, I’ve found that my Irish surname (Ó Broin) has been stored and printed in many ways (O Broin, O’Broin, Obroin, OBROIN, Broin, and so on), even in Ireland. Outside of Ireland, I think that only the Social Security Administration in the U.S. got it right – and those guys track you by number anyway. At times, I am sorry I just don’t give up and use the English form of my surname: Byrne.
But, why should I?
Paul steers clear of the linguistic mumbo-jumbo and "I'm a language expert and can order beer in three languages so listen up, devs" attitude that is such a turn-off for developers (and the rest of us). The article is refreshingly short compared with the usual lectures on the subject, and Paul ends with some useful recommendations and examples from the real world of consumer software.
A fine example of developer relations.
Here’s another great plain language, no-nonsense approach on the subject of i18n and L10n education for developers from Java, Android, and i18n domain whizz John O’Conner (@joconner): the absolute minimum they need to know.
Examples of the i18n and L10n story told well.
* This article is based on a Blogos article.