slide 48
Copyright © 2005 W3C (MIT, ERCIM, Keio)
Formatting & reading data
Cultural issues
Chinese Chang Wen Yun
Malay Isa (bin) Aman
Indian M. Thiruselvan
Thiruselvan s/o Manickavasagam
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Slide 48 of 81
When Chinese people write their name they normally write the family name first and given name last. A form that asks a Chinese user to enter their first and last names can be very confusing for them. Better say 'family' and 'given' name.
The Malay person above has only one name, Isa. 'bin' means 'son of', and Aman is his father's name.
A similar situation applies to the person from southern India whose name appears at the bottom.
There are other ways in which names can vary, including double family names for Spanish people, and patronymics for Russians.
When creating forms for names, ask yourself what you will do with the name. If you won't process it at all, allow people to enter their whole name as they would usually write it. However, if you are expecting, for example, to use part of the name to address people, you may find that you can't simply work out what to call people working from Anglo-Saxon expectations of how names are used. You may need a special field that asks how the user likes to be addressed. Also be careful about choosing a part of the name for sorting - people sort names in very different ways around the world.