Reading Usable Help
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Gordon R. Meyer
If you can read this, you can read English
The packaging for a Moshi Moshi Curve Bluetooth Handset caught my eye. Both side panels of the box feature marketing copy in various languages. But as is all too common, each language is labeled. Is it really necessary to label the German language text as "German?"
Lots of companies do this and I've never understood why. I blame either the graphic designer who insists on having a heading, or the marketer who thinks that English-speaking customers will be confused by the "gibberish" if they're not told what language it is they're unable to read.
That's right, in almost all cases, the other languages are labeled in English. That is, the header reads "German," not "Deutsch." This seems to confirm my misguided marketer theory, as the English text is not labeled at all. Curiously, though, as you can see in the photo the non-Roman languages are not labeled in English. That I really don't understand. (Literally and figuratively).
Aside from this, however, the headset really is quite nice. And I suppose one could argue, ala Frank Zappa's comments on customs forms, that the packaging allows you to learn a new language if you study it carefully.