The W3C needs to make sure that the typographic needs of scripts
and languages around the world are built in to technologies such as
HTML, CSS, SVG, etc. so that Web pages and eBooks can look and
behave as expected for people around the world.
To that end we have experts in various parts of the world
documenting typographic requirements and gaps between what is
needed and what is currently supported in browsers and ebook
The flagship document is
Requirements for Japanese
Text Layout. The information in this document has been widely
used, and the process used for creating it was extremely effective.
It was developed in Japan, by a task force using mailing lists and
holding meetings in japanese, then converted to english for review.
It was published in both languages.
We now have groups working on
Layout Requirements and
Requirements for Hangul Text
Layout and Typography, and this month I was in Beijing to
discuss ongoing work on Chinese layout requirements (URL coming
soon), and we heard from experts in Mongolian, Tibetan, and Uyghur
who are keen to also participate in the Chinese task force and
produce similar documents for their part of the world.
The Internationalization (i18n) Working Group at the W3C has
also been working on other aspects of the mutlilingual user
experience. For example, improvements for bidirectional text
support (Arabic, Hebrew, Thaana, etc) for HTML and CSS, and
supporting the work on
To support local relevance of Web pages and eBook formats we
need local experts to participate in gathering information in these
task forces, to review the task force outputs, and to lobby or
support via coding the implementation of features in browsers and
ereaders. If you are one of these people, or know some, please get
We particularly need more information about how to handle
typographic features of the Arabic script.
In the hope that it will help, I have put together
some information on current areas of activity at the W3C, with
pointers to useful existing requirements, specifications and
tests.It is not exhaustive, and I expect it to be
added to and improved over time.
Look through the list and check whether your needs are being
adequately covered. If not, write to email@example.com (you
subscribefirst) and make the case. If the spec does cover your
needs, but the browsers don’t support your needs, raise bugs
against the browsers.