Opened 17 years ago

Closed 6 years ago

#166 closed task (wontfix)

Use of flags for languages in Drupal Portal

Reported by: warmerdam Owned by: webcom@…
Priority: normal Milestone:
Component: WebSite Keywords:
Cc: pierre.cardinal@…



We have received complaints about the Drupal portal using flags to represent languages when that is not really representative. For instance, the flag of France being used to represent French. Are there more accurate options available in Drupal? Is this considered to be "best practice" for internationalized web sites?

(this is raised by a message to info@…)

Change History (13)

comment:1 by jbirch, 17 years ago

I don't know what the best practice is. I would really like to see community feedback on this in the general list before making some kind of commitment one way or another. I'm used to clicking on the GB icon for english on most european sites...

comment:2 by warmerdam, 17 years ago

Hey everyone, Long time listener, first time caller....

According to the W3C the use of flags is discourages:

Wikipedia, for example, uses the full language name in the language it represents.


comment:3 by jbirch, 17 years ago

Looks like a pretty clear recommendation, and an easy fix:

turn off "Show Flags' under Home->Administer->Settings->Localizer

Any thoughts/feelings about this? I'd be happy to flip the switch...

comment:4 by tmitchell, 17 years ago

I lean more toward the "pro" side of that w3c discussion note. If we take away the flags, then language choice through an icon instantly 'disappears' and, I argue, is made harder to find. For non English speakers who arrive at our home page - and do not easily see a flag they can related to, it can dramatically decrease the effectiveness of the site. Likewise, it may be a dis-incentive to translators because it makes their content harder to find (again, arguably). I have heard no complaints about the icons from any of the many translators (i.e. even those of us who write British English from outside of UK, yet the site uses US English... etc). And we have accomodate local differences where possible (e.g. Brasilian Portuguese).

I can think of several personal examples from other sites I've went to, where I would have been lost trying to find the word "English" somewhere on the page if there were not a simple flag icon to choose. If we removed icons then I believe we need to make the menu choices clearer or more prominent somehow.

Personally, unless it is quite offensive, I think removing the flags is "throwing the baby out with the bathwater".

Random thoughts for you... Tyler

comment:5 by pcardinal, 17 years ago

Cc: pierre.cardinal@… added

comment:6 by arnulf, 17 years ago

I have raised this question the very day that the flags appeared but as usually my qualms have been thoroughly ignored by NA. No offense meant, just paying back some deeds... :-)

I motion to change the flags to texts.


comment:7 by tmitchell, 17 years ago

How about we replace the country flags with ISO language code icons (e.g. [EN]). This would satisfy me, since the graphics would still attract attention. The codes won't mean something to everyone one of our less technical users but they will at least get their attention.

I've been trying to find a set of these image files, so we could just change the files and be done. But I haven't found any yet - anyone else find any?

Is this a good compromise?

I like Dave's suggestion too, but think this replacement would be a bit easier if the files already exist somewhere. How important is it that the change language options appear as a list on every single page? (i.e. in our side menu?). Could we do like Dave suggests and just put a single link to a change language page? Hm.... I'm starting to like the idea because it would buy back some of the screen real estate.

Dave Patton suggested: " You can always have a 'change language' page, that doesn't include "those offensive flags", and have it linked from every (translated) page via an icon such as a group of flags. "

comment:8 by jbirch, 17 years ago

I think that:

  • it's important to have the chance language option on every page: I almost never end up on a site's home page when I'm searching for something
  • it's important to show the language choices in the native lettering. That one word you recognise will pop out and allow for easy navigation to your native-language content. My experience with sites that have alternate english text anyway.

The two-letter language codes are less recognisable from a general audience viewpoint than the flags. My take is that we should either turn them off (because they're potentially offensive) or leave them on (because they provide a nice visual cue even if it doesn't match your country), but that having the names spelled out in native language on every page is important.

comment:9 by tmitchell, 17 years ago

Owner: changed from webcom@… to tmitchell
Status: newassigned

Okay, in the interests of trying something proactive... I motion that we simply remove the flags for now and see how it goes.

All in favour....

comment:10 by warmerdam, 17 years ago

I'm -0 on change for changes sake.

I would suggest we just leave this as an agenda item for the next meeting. There is not pressing rush. I'd add that motions should not be made in tickets, they should be made on the mailing list or in meetings.

in reply to:  6 comment:11 by tmitchell, 17 years ago

Replying to arnulf:

I motion to change the flags to texts.

Oops, I forgot Arnulf already made a motion.

+1 from me. It's an easy fix.

comment:12 by tmitchell, 16 years ago

Owner: changed from tmitchell to webcom@…
Status: assignednew

Reassigning to webcom in case someone wants to implement this still.

comment:13 by jive, 6 years ago

Resolution: wontfix
Status: newclosed
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