Personal names around the world

Personal names around the world

People who create web forms, databases, or ontologies in English-speaking countries are often unaware how different people’s names can be in other countries. They build their forms or databases in a way that assumes too much on the part of foreign users.

There’s only one question you need to ask. What is your name?. That’s what we ask in myExperiment?

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2 comments

  1. Shaun · July 20, 2007

    People who create web forms, databases, or ontologies in English-speaking countries are often unaware how different people’s names can be in other countries. They build their forms or databases in a way that assumes too much on the part of foreign users.
    Ironically, the use of the phrase “English speaking countries” also assumes too much. As someone from NZ (where we don’t typically use postcodes, states or counties) who travels a lot (trying to buy things using an offshore credit card) I’m quite often surprised by the assumptions made by developers. Especially on UK, US and Canadian websites.
    I’m sure there’s more than one sales database out there where my postcode’s 00000 and I’ve given some random North Dakota address because the designers haven’t considered that someone outside the country might actually, you know, need to use their website.
    Call to web developers in the English speaking G8: wake up! There are other English-speaking countries in the world, and they don’t all fit nicely into your systematic view of things.

  2. mattl · July 20, 2007

    On forms that require your UK postcode, try ZZ99 3VZ – it’s the legal, valid postcode for ‘No fixed abode’, which typically means you’re homeless.
    Forms need two things:-
    ‘What is your name:-‘
    ‘What is your address:-‘
    People who know their postcode or zip code, if they have one, will put it in the right place, otherwise, they won’t.
    Try living somewhere without a county, too.

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