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The long-awaited @media conference is finally over. It went ok, I thought. I’ve been looking forward to carrying the i18n gospel to the heathens of the design and development community. 😉

It was great to have a single track in San Fran. Of course, given that there were two tracks in London, my audience there wasn’t huge – though I’m guessing that about one third of the 700-odd attendees came, which isn’t too bad – especially since I was up against Dan Cederholm (even I wanted to see Dan again). It’s always frustrating that people don’t know how much they’d find talks on i18n useful until they have accidentally been to one.

Anyway, I got a lot out of the other excellent conference talks and enjoyed meeting or better getting to know many new people. I’m looking forward to next year already. It will be different, however, and probably a little quieter, given that Molly Holzschlag announced that she was leaving the Web Conference Circuit, and Joe Clark announced at the very end of the conference that he was retiring (‘pretty much’) from accessibility. Good luck to them both.

As usual, there are lots of photos.

About the presentation

Check out slide 77 for a list of practical takeaways from the presentation.

The presentation was not designed to give you a thorough overview of potential internationalization and localization issues – we would need much longer for that. It aims to provide you with a few practical takeaways, but more importantly it aims to get you thinking about what internationalization is all about – to take you out of your comfort zone, and help you realize that if you want your content to wow people outside your own culture and language, you need to build in certain flexibilities and adopt certain approaches during the design and development – not as an afterthought. Otherwise you are likely to be creating substantial barriers for worldwide use.

The presentation also aims to show that, although using Unicode is an extremely good start to making your stuff world-ready, using a Unicode encoding such as UTF-8 throughout your content, scripts and databases is only a start. You need to worry about whether translators will be able to adapt your stuff linguistically, but you also need to also consider whether graphics and design are going to be culturally appropriate or can be adapted, and whether your approaches and methodologies fit with those of your target users.

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