Guideline D: Product structure in a globalized environment

D3: Structuring services for full support



Structuring services for full support

Functions are often designed for efficiency of processing, receiving little or no attention to their cultural and linguistic correctness. The problem is that developers often do not look beyond their culture and language to determine the scope of services and functions required elsewhere.


Guideline D3


Design such functions as sorting, searching, merging, comparing, monocasing, rounding, and folding to meet unique cultural and linguistic requirements.


There are many degrees of effect that cultural and linguistic support can have on function. In some situations, the design is built around a specific set of guidelines, and the entire function must be replaced to satisfy a new set of guidelines. In other cases, the function behavior is governed by externally stored guidelines.

Example: Spell checkers cannot be made to work with other languages just by changing dictionaries. This is because each language has its unique set of guidelines to determine how to add suffixes and prefixes, and how to build compound words.

Example: Culturally correct sorting order for the Latin script characters can be achieved in two phases:

  1. For every character, obtain up to 4 key values from an external table. These key values reflect the character's attributes that must be taken into account during the sort operation:
    1. Ranking of the character (for example, the character a comes before b)
    2. Case (uppercase comes before or after lowercase)
    3. Diacritics and accents (if any)
    4. Special symbol such as hyphen (if any)
  2. Perform a binary sort of the key values.

For further information on sorting, refer to Keys to Sort and Search for Culturally Expected Results, GG24-3516.


Guideline D3-1


Design data repositories to meet international and multilingual requirements.



Guideline D3-2


Provide alternative ways to convey information authored in audio and video formats.


This is necessary for users who will be reviewing information in a language other than their mother tongue.


Guideline D3-3


Design the data repository for worldwide use early in development, rather than redesign it at deployment time.


If a data repository is to be deployed in different countries, field sizes may need to be adjusted to store multibyte data or data from other countries or languages.


Guideline D3-4


Design extra fields into the data repository, if necessary, to store country or region-specific data.


For example, the Japanese address format includes a postal code, prefecture, ward, city, map grid and street number. You may require extra fields for the various address elements.