6 Dec 2011
posted in daily
As good as Apple is with its software and hardware design, it fails to address localisation issues in its communications and online services.
At least here in Switzerland.
I've been grumbling about l10n issues for a long time now, and haven't seen much improvement these last years. Especially at Apple.
Switzerland has 4 official languages plus English. Defaulting to the most popular language, in terms of number of speakers, is kind of okay if you have no prior knowledge of the visitor's preferred language.
Apple ID is broken
This doesn't apply to Apple. Apple ID's “Language and Contact Preferences” pane is designed to record your preferences.
Unfortunately it reverts to German whatever I do.
The input is a text field, powered by autocompletion, not a dropdown menu of predefined values. You are free to set whatever language you feel like. It records it. For a while. Until, in my case, it changes it back to German.
Now, it's not like you can't set your language preferences elsewhere, is it? Apple's web sites are localised (with cookies), Mac OS X and iOS have their own settings, etc. All my OSes are set to English, so why does Apple default back to German if you live in Switzerland?
Maybe countries weren't supposed to have multiple national languages (does that remind you of anything?).
Speak one language only
Take the Apple Store App: it defaults to German if you browse the French speaking Geneva Apple Store with English as your main language. You don't even have a choice here. Shortsighted design? You bet.
Try buying a product on the Swiss Apple Store in French, only to receive the confirmation and follow up mails in German. Swell.
Don't click me
They added a language switch at the top of the email. Unfortunately, you can't click on it because Mail's quick button bar hides the links when you hover over that area of the message (top, center). Bad design? You bet.
There's room for improvement Apple.