Friday Nov 02, 2012

Discount Multilingual Day in the Life of User Experience

Super article by the WikiMedia Foundation engineering folks about Designing for the Multilingual Web using the Wikipedia Universal Language Selector user interface as an example. Great ideas about tools that are available, as well as covering the basics of wireframing (mockups), prototyping, and user testing. Lots of inspiration there for developers and builders of apps who want to ensure their user experience (UX) really delivers for a global audience.

Check out the use of the Firefox-based Pencil, how to translate your mockups, and how to perform remote user testing using Google+ Hangouts.

Paul Giner demonstrates how to translate mockups.

A little clunky and homespun in parts (I would prefer if tools such as Pencil or Balsamiq MockUps, and so on, could roundtrip directly from SVG to XLIFF for example, and Pencil doesn't work yet with the latest versions for Firefox) and I am not sure how it can really scales to enterprise-level use. However, the UX methodology is basically sound, and reinforces the importance of designing and testing in more that one language. The most powerful message for me is that you do not need special resources, training or expensive tools to deliver great-looking usable apps if you're a developer.

Definitely worth considering if you're building apps out there in the community.

Wednesday Feb 23, 2011

Oracle User Productivity Kit Translation

Oracle's customers just love the User Productivity Kit (UPK). I hear only great things about it from our international customers at the Oracle Usability Advisory Board meetings too. The UPK is the perfect solution for enterprise applications training needs (I previously "eviewed a fine book about UPK btw).

One question I am often asked is how source content created using the UPK can be translated into another language. I spoke with Peter Maravelias, Principal Product Strategy Manager for UPK about this recently.

UPK is already optimized for easy source-target translation already. There is even a solution for re-recording demos. Here's what you can do to get your source content into another language:

  • Use UPK's ability to automatically translate events and actions. UPK comes with XML templates that allow you to accomplish this in 21 languages with a simple publishing action switch. These templates even deal with the tricky business of using gender-based translations.
upk_template_es.png
Spanish localization template sample

upk_template_jp.png
Japanese localization template sample

  • Use the Import and Export localization features to export additional custom content in a format like XLIFF, easily handled by translation tools. You could also export and import in Word format.
  • Rerecord the sound (audio) files that go with the recordings, one per screen. UPK's granular approach to the sound files means that timing isn't an option. Retiming demos isn't required. A tip here with sound files and XLFF-exported custom content is to facilitate translation context by avoiding explicit references to actions going on in the screen recordings. A text based storyboard with screenshots accompanying the sound files should also be provided to the translators. Provide a glossary of terms too.
  • Use the re-record option in UPK to record any demo from a translated application. This will allow all the translated UI labels to be automatically captured. You may be required to resize any action events here due to text expansion issues. Naturally, you will need translated data in the translated application too, so plan for this in advance. However, source-target language skills aren't required for the re-recording.

The UPK Player itself, of course, is also available from Oracle along with content and doc in 21 languages. The Developer and Setup is also translated in a smaller number of languages. Check the Oracle UPK website  for latest details. UPK is a super solution for global enterprise applications training deployments allowing source content to be translated into multiple languages easily. See this post on the UPK blog for more insight too!

I would like to thank Peter for his time in talking with me.

Sunday Dec 05, 2010

Design Issues With Forms

Interesting article on UX Matters, well worth reading, especially the idea that global design research can take for a better user experience in all languages: Label Placement in Austrian Forms, with Some Lessons for English Forms.

What is perhaps underplayed here is the cultural influence of how people worked with forms in the past, and how a proper global user-centered design process needs to address this issue and move usability gains (in the enterprise space, productivity especially) in the right direction, but also the enterprise applications requirements for localization that can mean adding different fields to an existing form.

About

Oracle applications global user experience (UX): Culture, localization, internationalization, language, personalization, more. For globally-savvy UX people, so that it all fits together for Oracle's worldwide customers.

Audience: Enterprise applications translation and localization topics for the user experience professional (designers, engineers, developers, researchers)!
Profile

Ultan Ó Broin. Director, Global Applications User Experience, Oracle Corporation. On Twitter: @localization

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