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Talk:Language and terminology

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22 Sep
2009
Article Review by Larry101 (20090922)

This article covers two aspects of language use in terms of application development, namely localization and terminology. Localization refers to literally “speaking the user’s language”. If an application is to be used in countries with different languages, then it should be possible for users to customize the language of the application. Sometimes this may even need to extend beyond the language to the meaning of the symbols and icons used. Often different symbols have different connotations in different cultures, which could lead to unexpected usability problems. The article provides some useful links to articles which help programmers address these issues on the different platforms available for Nokia devices (Symbian C++, Java ME and Python).

The discussion on the correct use of terminology in this article is very useful and highlights several important issues which should be considered when designing menus and dialogs in mobile applications. Many of Nielsen’s usability heuristics (link) come to mind here, including the need for consistency and standards (use consistent terminology wherever possible, both within your application and across applications) and recognition rather than recall (users should be able to infer what a function does from its label, rather than having to memorise commands). Good use of humour is made to demonstrate poorly worded error dialogs. It is important that when an error does occur, the system should (wherever possible) provide help on fixing that error. For example, if the user enters a date in the incorrect format, the system should explain the correct format, rather than saying something like “an error occurred”.

 

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