Avoiding Problems by Avoiding Decisions

Andreas Pour pour at mieterra.com
Tue May 18 15:30:51 BST 2004

Ingo Klöcker wrote:
> On Monday 17 May 2004 05:04, Don Sanders wrote:
> > After reading Jason Keirstead's post and following his links I
> > suggest that in addition to this the flags should be removed as well.
> >
> > FWIW that is what GNOME and Red Hat have decided to do. I think the
> > flags are the cause of more insult/offense than the names and that it
> > makes sense to completely remove them.
> IMO it's ridiculous to remove all flags just because there is a handful
> of controversial ones. Did you even consider the impact on usability?
> Just for a minute think about the billions of illiterates out there who
> will most likely recognize the flag of their country but who won't be
> able to find their country (or their locale) if it's only listed with
> its name.

In the spirit of exploring options, I can address these concerns.

The solution to finding is best done by listing each langauge in its own
language (one could use images for that if that would help) in addition to the
default language.

Since this list might be long (I think we currently have 49 languages) one could
reduce it by having a simple world map, dividing it into some regions and
pruning the list depending on which region is clicked on (if you have say 10
regions you should be able to reduce the list to < 8 languages / region).

> Not that it matter much. Because for an illiterate a desktop
> in his native language is as good a desktop in the xx language. Right?
> Wrong.
> And what about KPPP which also lists country names because the providers
> are for obvious reasons categorized by country names.

This is the most challenging b/c telephone providers tend to be organized also
along political lines.  But one should be able to use the geo-political
description used by the telco as to its coverage area.  Indeed many telcos cover
more than one country.

> Or the timezone configuration of the clock applet. Oh my god, the
> timezone is identified by flags and city names. 

Used to be continent / city, which works fine.

> Removing the flags
> would be a cool idea because then the user would have to read all city
> names (provided he can read) instead of simply looking for a flag that
> looks vaguely familiar to him.

Actually if you care about usability you would embed kworldclock or so in the
thing so the user just clicks near where s/he lives :-).

> But why categorize timezones at all by
> countries/flags/cities? Why don't we simply replace this by a
> KHalfIntegralNumInput and let the user select the offset of UTC?
> Or the keyboard layout selection. Currently a nice flag with an
> overlayed country code is shown. What do you want to do about layouts
> like de_DE, de_CH and de_AT if the flags are removed? They would be all
> displayed as "de".

Actually one would display them as "de_DE", "de_CH", etc. in short form and
"Deutsch (Deutschland)", "Deutsch (Schweiz)", etc. (or however the keyboards are
described by the manufacturers) in long form.

> And what about the kids? Did you think about the kids? They will no
> longer see all those nice colorful flags and ask what country they
> represent. But that's good, right? Because then you won't risk your kid
> asking inconvenient questions about country Foo that you have a problem
> with.

If you want a geography program for your kid, there are different ones available
:-).  This is IMO a make-weight argument.



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