Can You Find the Global Gateway?

I’m a strong advocate for “global gateways.” A global gateway is the term I used to refer to the navigation system that directs users to their language-specific or locale-specific Web sites. Once you offer more than one language or locale, you’re going to need a gateway. (Here’s our report on the topic.)

To understand the importance of the global gateway, I recommend visiting a Web site that offers multiple languages. Start with the Web page of a language you do not speak and see how easy it is to get to the English-language site. Here’s a good test site: the Danish company TDC. Currently, the link to the English-language site is effectively buried. I’ve also included an excerpt below in case the site gets redesigned.

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As you can see the “English” link is located on the very bottom of the page. Only the most persistent visitor will be fortunate enough to find it.

Amazon uses a similar strategy:

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Unfortunately, most Web sites — even the most locally usable Web sites — have a long way to go in creating globally usable Web sites.

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