Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Localization fail

Localization fail

I have a very niche complaint: I am so annoyed by websites that can't deal with the immigrant realities that make up my everyday life. Is it really so unimaginable to website and form designers that someone could have billing addresses, shipping addresses, and language preferences that do not all belong in the same country?

Today I was trying to update our car's sat nav system and Toyota wouldn't let me do anything until I selected a country.

This is conundrum #1. What purpose does the country selection serve here? Do they want to know what language the site should display in for me? Do they want the country the car is registered in? Or the country my shipping address is in? Or my billing address? There is no indication, so I choose Finland. And the website immediately changes into all Finnish.

Conundrum #2. Can I change the language back to English while keeping the location in Finland? No. No I can't. (Some sites do offer this functionality, or at least make it clear when asking you to select a country that it will change the language, too, so you can make your decision with that in mind.) OK, so we're doing this in Finnish. Bring it on.

I add the map to my cart and go to check out. Toyota now wants to know my address. Conundrum #3: do they want the address the car is registered at? Or the billing address for the card I intend to use to pay? No indication. So I put in the address where the car is registered, thinking I might get a chance to put in a separate billing address later.

Several screens later: conundrum #4, they wanted the billing address. So I put in the billing address for my US card.

Next screen: conundrum #5, no US addresses allowed. So I went back and entered in the original address in Finland and was finally able to pay and get what I needed.

It just strikes me as being almost old-fashioned, how touchy certain websites still are about location, and how bad many are at effective and nuanced localization. I remember when we first moved to the UAE that Google kept thinking it was so smart, sensing my location and turning my browser interface to Arabic. Never mind that probably around 75% of the residents of that country do not speak Arabic! Or even this Toyota Finland website - why was Swedish not an option, even though Swedish is an official language of Finland?

Anyway, there's a glimpse into one of the annoying things about living outside of one's home country.

March 30th, outsourced

Interview with a podcast

Interview with a podcast