Intel: The best global enterprise technology website of 2016

For the 2016 Web Globalization Report Card, we studied 11 enterprise technology websites:

  • Autodesk
  • Cisco Systems
  • EMC
  • IBM
  • Huawei
  • Intel
  • Oracle
  • SAP
  • Texas Instruments
  • Xerox
  • VMware

With support for 23 languages, Intel is not the language leader in this category; Cisco Systems leads with 40 languages.

But Intel leads in other ways.

Such as global navigation. First and foremost, Intel has embraced country codes, such as:

  • www.intel.de
  • www.intel.co.jp
  • www.intel.cn

On the China home page, the global gateway is perfectly positioned in the header. Also, note the globe icon — which makes this global gateway easy to find no matter what language you speak:

intel_cn

Selecting the globe icon brings up this “universal” global gateway menu:

intel_gateway_2015

Universal means this menu can be used across all localized websites — because the locale names are presented in the local languages and scripts (for the markets in which they are supported). 

Unfortunately, on the mobile website the globe icon is demoted to the footer. Shown here is the Polish home page:

Intel Poland mobile

Intel supports strong global consistency across its many local websites. Depth of local content varies and there are gaps in support content across a number of languages.

But Intel is making smart use of machine translation  to allows users to self-translate content into their target language. Shown here an excerpt from the Brazil website.

Intel Brazil Machine Translation

The button near the top of the page is what users select to self-translate content. Too few companies are making use of machine translation currently.

One concern, looking ahead, is that the .com design has very recently demoted the global gateway icon to the footer.

Intel global gateway in the footer

Ironically, it is the .com website that most requires a global gateway in the header because more than half of all visitors to the .com website originate outside of the US.

For more information, check out the Web Globalization Report Card.

Apple’s evolving global gateway provides another reason to rid your website of flags

Apple can’t seem to rid itself of using flags on its global gateway. And, yes, I’ve been writing about this for awhile now.

Every time Apple launches a redesign I get my hopes up.

But this latest design merely offered up newly “flattened” map icons, as shown here:

Current Apple Global Gateway:

apple_gateway_20152

Previous Apple Global Gateway:

apple_gateway_20151

Continue reading “Apple’s evolving global gateway provides another reason to rid your website of flags”

Global gateway icon: Globes gain traction

Regular readers of this blog know well that I advocate for a global gateway icon on websites and apps — a visual element that lets users know, regardless of their language, where to find the global gateway menu.

I recommend using a globe icon because it displays well in small sizes, can be made geographically neutral (see below) and communicates its meaning across all languages.

I’ve noticed over the past year more and more companies making use of the globe icon.

Here is one:

genious_gateway

And here is the Netflix global gateway (not well positioned, however):

netflix_gateway

Both of these icons are geographically neutral.

As opposed to this icon, used by GM in its header:

gm_gateway

To learn how to make the best use of a global gateway icon along with geolocation, check out Geolocation for Global Success.

Is your global gateway stuck in the basement?

When you welcome visitors into your home, you probably don’t usher them directly to the basement.

Yet when it comes to websites, this is exactly how many companies treat visitors from around the world.

That is, they expect visitors to scroll down to the footer (basement) of their websites in order to find the global gateway.

Now I want to emphasize that many companies smartly use country codes to create country-specific “front doors.” In addition, many companies use backend technologies such as geolocation and content negotiation to guess what language/locale website the user prefers before forcing the user to select one.

But these technologies don’t work perfectly and there are times when users need to be able to self-select the language they wish to use or country website they wish to visit.

Which leads us to the global gateway.

Apple has long forced international users down to the footer to locate the global gateway as shown below. I’ve already written about the flaws with the flag itself.

apple gateway basement

Apple is not alone. Here is the Microsoft footer (on the Thai website):

Microsoft Thai gateway

To underscore that there is plenty of room in the header for the gateway, below is the header from that same web page.

msft_header_thai

Do you think we could cut back on that search window a tad to make room for the gateway? I would think so.

Kayak manages to fit its global gateway in the header — see the flag at the far right:

kayak_header

So does GE (I love the globe icon):

ge_header

You can tell so much about a company by how it structures its website.

The global gateway is more than a functional element, it is in many ways an extension of your brand.

It’s important to greet visitors from around the world as warmly as you greet those users in your home country.

When you send your global gateway into the basement you are sending many users there as well.

Apple continues to neglect its global gateway

Every time Apple updates its web design (which it did recently) I get hopeful that the global gateway will receive a similar upgrade.

But this has not yet happened.

Apple’s global gateway remains firmly entrenched in the use of flags. And that’s unfortunate.

Flags are not the best icons for global navigation. They are fraught with cultural baggage and they do not scale well.

Look at the chaos of colors here — and how much real estate is required to include the countries:

apple gateway

Another problem with using flags as a navigational device is the lack of certain  “regional” flags.

For example, Apple supports a Latin American website, denoted by this useless icon:

apple_LA

Am I as a web user supposed to know this Apple icon is intended to signify Latin America?

Too often, the global gateway has no internal champion — a person or team in charge of ensuring that global navigation does not get overlooked during the process of any redesign. I suspect that this is the issue with Apple.

In a future post I’ll discuss something else that is wrong with this gateway, and also not unique to Apple.