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July 13, 2005


Mark Bramley

There are a few more gotchas to consider as well:
1. When UI text is translated from English into a non-English language, all the controls that previously fit perfectly are now clipping the text or overflowing into one another. Existing attempts to address this problem either leave a lot of whitespace in the English version making it look daft, or rely on localization vendors to layout the controls themselves and since they tend not to deeply understand the program flow it often ends up as a diabolical mess. Try running a French or German version of an originally US product and look at the dialogs :-(. The UIs that don't have this problem are ones with a flow-based layout (e.g. HTML, but not tables) rather than absolute positioning.
2. Large Fonts. With the wonders of high resolution displays text can get really tiny. Turning on large fonts (in MS Windows at least) really messes up a lot of app's UI.
On a related topic, this is one place where Firefox did a great job, because the text resize feature always works no matter what styles are used in the HTML.

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