“Hello. Is it .ME You’re Looking For?” L10n Storytelling for Coders

Using plain language and reflecting the user’s world are long-established tenets of software user experience (UX). These days we might talk more about context and storytelling as part of our UX communications strategy than usability heuristics, but the message is the same: talk to your users in way that relates to them.

So, I really love this article by Paul Tomkiel (@paul_tomkiel) of CodeL10n.comFirst, Middle, Last – Why Not Full Name?

hellomynameisPaul writes a very compelling article about how to architecture software for the entering and storing of user names in a way that work globally. He’s aimed this important piece at developers using clear, plain language that they’ll understand. Chances are they will read it.

Naturally, Paul begins with a story we can relate to. In my own experience, I’ve found that my Irish surname (Ó Broin) has been stored and printed in many ways (O Broin, O’Broin, Obroin, OBROIN, Broin, and so on), even in Ireland. Outside of Ireland, I think that only the Social Security Administration in the U.S. got it right – and those guys track you by number anyway). At times, I feel like giving up and just using the English form of my surname: Byrne. But then, why should I?

Paul steers clear of the linguistic mumbo-jumbo and language expert jargon that is such a turn-off for developers (and the rest of us). And, the article is refreshingly short. Paul ends with some useful recommendations and examples from the real world of consumer software.

A fine example of developer relations.

Here’s another great plain language, no-nonsense approach to the subject of i18n and L10n education for developers from domain whizz John O’Conner (@joconner): the absolute minimum they need to know.

Live and learn people. Tell that i18n and L10n story well.

Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.


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