Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Language choices

One question which often arises while designing a bi-lingual website is how to show the option to change language. Well, to be honest, I suspect the question doesn't actually get asked - many websites just use national flags, without any thought of the significance of the flag: e.g.

...but that is completely unacceptable!

The flag of the red dragon, Y Ddraig Goch, is the flag of EVERY Welshman and Welshwoman, whatever their language(s) - Welsh speakers, non-Welsh speakers, learners, immigrants or whatever. And the Cross of St George is the flag of England and it's inhabitants - not English speakers. English is spoken in many countries, including Wales.

Some sites even use the Union Jack to represent English.


(that's the website of Cered, the Ceredigion Language Organisation, who really should know better - but at least they have the name of the language as well)

The Union Jack is the flag of the United Kingdom, which includes Wales (where some people speak Welsh), England (officially English only, but in practice many, many languages), Northern Ireland (English and Gaelic) and Scotland (English and Scots Gaelic) So completely wrong!

I believe that the only option is to use the name of the language, in the language, so 'Cymraeg' and 'English' (and perhaps 'Castellano' in South America and 'Español' in Europe, Български or whatever)

Here's an example of a site we developed for an EU-funded project, that involved people from six countries/regions:

Dewisiadau Iaith

Un cwestiwn sy'n codi'n aml tra'n dylunio gwefan dwyieithog yw sut i ddangos opsiwn i newid iaith. Wel, i fod yn onest, mwy na thebyg dydi'r cwestiwn ddim yn codi - mae nifer o wefannau yn jyst defnyddio baneri cenedlaethol, heb feddwl am arwyddocâd y baneri o gwbl - e.e.

ond mae hyn yn gwbl warthus!

Baner y ddraig goch yw baner POB UN Cymro a Chymraes, beth bynnag eu hiaith(oedd) - Cymry Cymraeg, Cymry di-Gymraeg neu dysgwr. Baner Sior yw baner Lloegr - ond Saesneg yw iaith bobl mewn llawer o wledydd, gan gynnwys Cymru.

Mae rhai hyd yn oed yn defnyddio Jac yr Undeb ar gyfer Saesneg:


(dyna gwefan Cered, Menter Iaith Ceredigion - dylen nhw gwybod yn well! Ond o leiaf mae enw'r iaith yno hefyd)

Jac yr Undeb yw baner y Deyrnas Unedig, sy'n cynnwys Cymru (lle mae rhai bobl yn siarad Cymraeg), Lloegr (Saesneg yn unig, yn swyddogol), Gogledd Iwerddon (Saesneg a Gaeleg) a'r Alban (am y tro, o leiaf) - Saesneg a Gaeleg yr Alban. Gwbl anghywir.

Credaf mai'r unig opsiwn yw defnyddio enw'r iaith - yn yr iaith, felly 'Cymraeg' ac 'English' (ac efallai 'Castellano' yn Ne America ac 'Español' yn Ewrop, Български neu beth bynnag)

Dyma enghraifft o wefan wnaethon ni datblygu ar gyfer prosiect EU:

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

From Marathon to Waterloo....

I've always been interested in history and so it's given me great pleasure recently to develop a new website for an old friend who goes round giving extremely entertaining talks and lectures on a wide range of historical subjects to local groups and societies around Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, and other far-flung parts of Eastern England.

It's been an interesting project - we wanted (and needed) something relatively simple and straightforward, which gives the basic details of who he is and what he does, how to contact him, and what exactly he offers: a classic 'brochureware' site. We still wanted something attractive and so we made use of a selection of colourful open-source images of the subjects of his lectures, which really lifted the whole site. The main design was almost monochrome, but it works well with the flashes of colour from the images.

You can visit the site at

The basic site went live in February 2014. It's built with our content managent tools so can be easily updated to add events and new subjects as they become ready. We still need to do a bit of SEO work getting a decent placing in Google, but that can't be done overnight.