The primary activity of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), is to develop protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth for the Web. The widely adopted Web standards define key parts of what actually makes the World Wide Web work.
A fundamental concern and goal of the W3C since the beginning has been the access to the Web for all. It is easy to overlook the needs of people from cultures different to your own, or who use different languages or writing systems, but you have to ensure that any content or application that you design or develop is ready to support the international features that they will need .
The following 7 quick tips summarize some important concepts of international Web design:
- Encoding: use the UTF-8 (Unicode) character encoding for content, databases, etc. Always declare the encoding.
- Language: declare the language of documents and indicate internal language changes.
- Navigation: on each page include clearly visible navigation to localized pages or sites, using the target language.
- Escapes: use characters rather than escapes (e.g.
á) whenever you can.
- Forms: use UTF-8 on both form and server. Support local formats of names/addresses, times/dates, etc.
- Localizable styling: use CSS styling for the presentational aspects of your page. So that it’s easy to adapt content to suit the typographic needs of the audience, keep a clear separation between styling and semantic content, and don’t use ‘presentational’ markup.
- Images, animations & examples: if your content will be seen by people from diverse cultures, check for translatability and inappropriate cultural bias.