When it comes to web globalization and, in particular, global navigation, the general rule about flags is to avoid using them.
By avoiding them, you avoid stepping into any number of politically sensitive issues.
Nevertheless, companies love to use flags on their web sites.
And sometimes the use of flags can result in some rather curious implementations.
Case in point: I recently came across the global gateway for Swiss Air and saw something that can best be conveyed via video:
Did you see the “flashing” flag?
I’d be curious to know if residents of the UK and Ireland would be bothered by this hybrid flag. Perhaps it’s not a big deal, but the flashing alone made this flag stand apart from all others. Frankly, it looks silly.
The flashing flag is also included in the pull-down menu, as demonstrated below:
Had Swiss Air simply avoided flags in the first place, it would have avoided this issue altogether.
Flags can be troublesome. When it doubt, leave them out.
To learn more, check out my new book The Art of the Global Gateway.