Interesting Global Gateway

RedDot, a maker of content management software, is using a rather unique global gateway, as shown here:

reddot.gif

Notice how it uses ISO-specific country abbreviations, such as PL for Poland, AU for Australia. To my knowledge this is the first corporate site to make use of usch abbreviations. The European Union Web site has been using them for some time, but only as a navigation aid within the Web, not as a global gateway.

So does this approach make sense? I’m not convinced that most people intuitively know the correct abbreviations for their country. Care to guess what ZA stands for? Try South Africa.

The ISO country codes, listed here, rely on two-character combinations. Only so many country get characters that fit nicely with their English-language spellings. Which brings me to another point – an ISO code for any non-Latin-character country name is not going to be as user friendly as the country name in the native script, such as Chinese, Korean, etc.

But who knows. Maybe the ISO codes will gain ground. They do take up very little room on a Web page, which is always valuable.

A final RedDot note – the site does an excellent job of maintaining consistency between locales. Here is the Poland home page:

reddot_pl.gif

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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.