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((((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) October 19, 2000

_____________________________SPONSORS_____________________________

This newsletter sponsored by: NetMechanic, eWork Exchange, Interliant and Search Engine Strategies __________________________________________________________________

****************************************************************** Animation With JavaScript

Animation on Web sites is controversial because the quality is often uneven. Well-done animation adds excitement and interest to a Web page, but bad animation distracts viewers and increases download times. You want to use animation to provide a sense of movement to the page - without inducing motion sickness in your visitors!

Learn how: http://www.netmechanic.com/news/vol3/design_no10.htm ******************************************************************

http://www.webreference.com http://www.webreference.com/new/ http://www.webreference.com/new/submit.html New this week on WebReference.com and the Web:

1. TWO GREAT CONTESTS: Subscribe & Win, Submit & Win! 2. FEATURED ARTICLE: Tread Carefully For International Design 3. NET NEWS: * AOL, Sprint Launch Wireless Messenger Service * Jobs Pledges Apple Fixes * Cashing In on Bogus Patents * The Bug That Bugged Buy.com * Vote-buying, Silicon Valley style

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. TWO GREAT CONTESTS: Subscribe & Win, Submit & Win!

>Signup & Win!

Sign up for the Webreference Update newsletter, and you could win a registered copy of HoTMetaL Professional 6.0 Web authoring tool from Softquad Software, Inc plus Ulead's PhotoImpact 6! Each week we'll draw new winners from our new subscribers - you could be next. Already a subscriber? Not a problem - just fill out the form, and you'll be automatically entered to win. Tell your friends!

http://www.webreference.com/new/contest.html

>Submit & Win Adobe Photoshop 6!

Yes that's right folks, submit your article today and you could win Adobe's new Photoshop 6. If your article makes the cut, and we publish it in this newsletter, you win Photoshop 6! See the submission page for details:

http://www.webreference.com/new/submit.html

Our first winner is Angshuman Das, who authored this week's article on avoiding an international snafu on your site (Globalization). Using certain animations, sayings, or colors could really turn off your potential customers. Read on to learn what not to do.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. FEATURED ARTICLE: Tread Carefully For International Design

I remember the first time my roommate's girlfriend winked at me while her boyfriend was not looking. Being in the United States, which is a different culture from my native India, I was not sure what to make out of the wink. Was she saying, "You could take liberties with me; I am cool?" Or was she making a simple gesture of friendliness?

On another occasion, a colleague in the United States gave me a "thumbs-up" sign, which is a gesture for "good" or "done" (in the case of a deal). In Bengal, a state in India, a thumbs-up can mean, "I will give you nothing."

Such differences are examples of how the meaning of gestures can vary from country to country, even region to region. While these may seem to relate only to verbal communication and body language, they are relevant to Web design. Design is communication, and so is the content on a Website.

Language is communication, but the idiom can vary from region to region. Don't confuse apple pie with rice pudding. What seems a clever phrase in one country can mean something dramatically different in another. Take, for instance, the ad slogan, "Got milk?" in the US media. It was a national ad campaign that used celebrity endorsement. In India and other countries, the catch phrase can mean, "Are you lactating?"

Imagine the possible faux pas. If you think that ad banner that you have created with a clever phrase will attract a million eyeballs, make sure you have chosen your words carefully, keeping a global audience in mind. Goof-ups can also occur during translation from one language to another.

>Consult experts

Fortunately, there are people and resources you can turn to for advice. Consider Olin Lagon. In "Avoiding Cross-Cultural Web- building Snares"

http://www.designshops.com/pace/ds/pub/1999/09/global.html

he warns against translation pitfalls, and offers his suggestions on how to "globalize" your Website. Globalizing is especially important in this era of e-commerce. It's crucial for businesses to be sensitive to cultural and linguistic differences among peoples of the world. They could be the customers that are visiting your Web site to buy products or services.

To adapt your design and content to regions of the world, consider having different sections or sites. In another article, "Matching Web Sites to Cultures"

http://www.designshops.com/pace/ds/pub/2000/03/global032700.html

Lagon gives examples of corporations that have customized their sites for various regions of the world. Among the examples are eBay, IBM, and IKEA.

http://pages.ebay.com/chinatown/ - eBay http://www.ibm.com/planetwide/ - IBM http://www.ikea.com/ - IKEA

These sites are worth a look.

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Another source that can enlighten you are these books:

* "Gestures: The Do's and Taboos of Body Language Around the World" by Roger E. Axtell, Mike Fornwald (Illustrator) * "Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: How to Do Business in 60 Countries" by Terri Morrison, Wayne Conaway, George Borden, Hans Koehler * "Dun & Bradstreet's Guide to Doing Business Around the World" by Teresa C. Morrison, et al. * "Do's and Taboos Around the World" by Roger E. Axtell (Editor) * "Do's and Taboos of Hosting International Visitors" by Roger E. Axtell

>Some excerpts from "Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands":

In Australia, the "thumbs-up" sign, which in the U.S. indicates "okay," is considered rude. In Brazil, the colors of the Brazilian flag are green and yellow; so people avoid wearing this combination in any dress. In China, you are expected to avoid making exaggerated gestures or using dramatic facial expressions. The Chinese do not generally use their hands when speaking, and become distracted by a speaker who does. Since it is impolite to disagree with someone in Indonesia, Indonesians rarely say "No." A clear way to indicate "No" is to suck in air through the teeth.

These gestures are clearly important in the context of human behavior, but even in Web design and content writing, they can play a significant role because both are means of symbolic expression. For instance, if you plan to have a funny animation either as editorial content or an ad, be careful about using facial expressions. A wink or a "thumbs-up" can backfire, too.

>Meaning of color

Use of color is an equally hazardous proposition. Color as a metaphor can be misinterpreted. As an example, I would like to share a former colleague's reaction to a comment about certain colors. When, during a discussion unrelated to Web design, somebody suggested that black is "macabre" or "death-like" and that white is "pure," this colleague termed the notion racist.

Sensitivity to cultural differences in the perception of color, therefore, is important. When you are designing for an international audience, the meaning of colors can get complicated and the message you are trying to get across may be vague or even offensive, says Carolyn M. Bloomer, Ph.D., in the latest issue of Adobe magazine. In an article, "Peace, Ghosts, Innocence: What Color means around the World":

http://www.adobe.com/products/adobemag/archive/marapr00.html

this professor of cultural anthropology says the idea that human response to color is universal is confusing.

For instance, research has found that red is not always "hot" and blue is not always "cool." Add to this the intricacies of symbolic meanings that are culturally specific, and confusion intensifies. Take, for instance, white: does it imply purity and innocence, as in Judeo-Christian traditions and in Japan? Or does it signify death, mourning and ghosts, as in China?

Bloomer makes us think with these thorny questions, which every Web designer should ask when creating a Website for a global audience. Take the help of these resources:

* "Principles of Visual Perception" by Carolyn M. Bloomer, Ph.D. (Design Press) * "Cross-Cultural Design: Communicating in the Global Marketplace" by Henry Steiner and Ken Haas (Thames and Hudson)

Just as perception of color is largely subjective, so is the craft of designing Websites. However, designers of corporate and e-commerce sites should keep their audience's perceptions and cultural traditions in mind because they are potential customers. As a designer, you don't want to turn them off and lose a customer.

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About the author:

Angshuman Das is a new-media professional (officially Software Engineer) at Desius, an e-commerce joint venture between RS Software (http://www.rssoftware.com) of India and Hanover Direct (http://www.hanoverdirect.com) of the United States. He designs Web sites, graphics and multimedia content. He received his Master's in Mass Communication degree from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, in 1997, and worked as a Web producer in the United States before returning to India, his native country. You can contact him at angshumand@rssoftware.co.in

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. NET NEWS: AOL, Sprint Launch Wireless Messenger Service, Jobs Pledges Apple Fixes, Cashing In on Bogus Patents, The Bug That Bugged Buy.com, Vote-buying, Silicon Valley style

>AOL, Sprint Launch Wireless Messenger Service

Sprint PCS now provides wireless access to AOL Instant Messenger services via its all-digital, all-PCS wireless network. Browsers are built directly into the phones, eliminating the need for special software to download. http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article/0,,3_489371,00.html InternetNews.com, 001019

>Jobs Pledges Apple Fixes

Putting in a rare appearance during Apple Computer's quarterly conference call with financial analysts on Wednesday, CEO Steve Jobs pinned the company's disappointing fiscal fourth-quarter numbers on slowing sales of the PowerPC G4 Cube, as well as concerns over G4 chip speeds and an inopportune switch in the company's education-sales strategy. http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2642305,00.html ZDNet.com, 001018

>Cashing In on Bogus Patents

On Wednesday, Tim O'Reilly and Jeff Bezos officially went into business together - the patent-reform business, no less. The erstwhile adversaries are jointly funding a new site called BountyQuest, which will, among other things, pay big cash rewards to people who dig up "prior art" that helps debunk controversial patents. http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,39528,00.html Wired.com, 001019

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>The Bug That Bugged Buy.com

Internet superstore buy.com was at the hub of a security flaw this week as a hole was discovered at its site that lets a user see customers' vital information - names, addresses and phone numbers. However, no credit card numbers were exposed. http://www.internetnews.com/wd-news/article/0,,10_484681,00.html InternetNews.com, 001013

>Vote-buying, Silicon Valley style

Windowless trailers. Electrical outlets. Not the usual heady buzzwords that you'd expect to hear flying about in a schmoozing mob of Silicon Valley hipsters. Tech industry heavyweights learn that throwing millions into a campaign can't substitute for building a grass-roots coalition. http://salon.com/tech/feature/2000/10/18/vouchers/index.html Salon.com, 001018

That's it for this week, see you next time.

Andrew King Managing Editor, WebReference.com update@webreference.com

Catherine Levy Assistant Editor, WebReference.com clevy@internet.com

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