Taking Mobile Global: Tips for Aligning Mobile and Global Web Strategies

Here’s a new article I’ve written for UX Magazine on the importance of aligning global and mobile strategies. Too often, companies develop mobile apps and mobile websites without considering localization requirements.

Here are two previous articles I’ve written for UX Magazine:

 

Global by Design turns 1,000

In 2002, I launched this blog.

It was the first blog devoted to web globalization. In fact, I don’t believe there were any blogs devoted to translation either at that point in time. So I really wasn’t sure where this whole blog thing would lead me. Perhaps I’d lose interest along the way.

Evidently, I didn’t, for today marks blog post #1,000.

I’m not the most prolific blogger to be sure (and I relied on a handful of guest articles along the way).

But it has been an exciting journey. I took a few minutes to page through the archives and I’ve included below a number of posts that jumped out at me (NOTE: a lot of the news links are broken):

In 2002, China had fewer than 100 million Internet users. Machine translation was more of a punchline than a business tool. And at the time you could count on one hand the number of web sites that supported 40 or more languages. Today, there are more than 23 such web sites.

I also took a stroll through Google Analytics. Though I didn’t have analytics in place during the early years, here are the three most popular blogs since 2005:

  1. Starbucks CEO on Globalization: Don’t Go Changing
  2. Google and the Global Traveler
  3. Google vs. Baidu: A User Experience Analysis

Thanks for reading over the years — and all your input and comments!

The next Internet revolution will not be in English

This visual depicts about half of the currently approved internationalized domain names (IDNs), positioned over their respective regions.

Notice the wide range of scripts over India and the wide range of Arabic domains. I left off the Latin country code equivalents (in, cn, th, sa, etc.) to illustrate what the Internet is going to look like (at a very high level) in the years ahead.

This next revolution is a linguistically local revolution. In terms of local content, it is already happening. Right now, more than half of the content on the Internet is not in English. Ten years from now, the percentage of English content could easily drop below 25%.

But there are a few technical obstacles that have so far made the Internet not as user friendly as it should be for people in the regions highlighted above. They’ve been forced to enter Latin-based URLs to get to where they want to go. Their email addresses are also Latin-based. This will all change over the next two decades.

For those of us who are fluent only in Latin-based languages, this next wave of growth is going to be interesting, if not a bit challenging. In a Latin-based URL environment, you can still easily navigate to and around non-Latin web sites and brands. For example, if I want to find Baidu in China, I can enter www.baidu.cn. For Yandex in Russia, it’s yandex.ru.

But flash forward a few years and these Latin URLs (though they’ll still exist) may no longer function as the front doors into these markets.

Try Яндекс.рф. It currently redirects to Yandex.ru.

In a few years, I doubt this redirection will exist.

We’re getting close to a linguistically local Internet — from URL to email address. There are still significant technical obstacles to overcome. It will be exciting to see which companies take the lead in overcoming them — as these companies will be well positioned to be leaders in these emerging markets.

UPDATE: I’ve expanded on this topic in a recent article on IP Watch.