Re: Pictograms (was: (TC304.2313) AND/OR: antediluvian views)

From: Alain LaBonté  (
Date: Wed Jun 14 2000 - 16:11:35 EDT

À 13:59 2000-06-14 -0400, Robert A. Rosenberg a écrit:
>At 11:34 AM 06/13/2000 -0800, Alain wrote:
>>[Alain] In my example of this morning, it was not mainly because French
>>was in 5th position that I was the most upset, it is because I was in a
>>hurry -- that was last Tuesday -- and that I had to wait for the vocal
>>explanations for many minutes while French was the second most-used
>>language in this hotel (the others in 2nd, 3rd and 4th position were, for
>>those interested [remember that we are in Toronto, not in Tokyo nor
>>Cairo]: Japanese [nihon-go], Spanish [español], Arabic [arabiya] [sorry
>>if I made a mistakes in spelling, that is what I heard, and I was as
>>attentive as I could). Even Spanish should have come before Japanese in
>>North America. It is a matter of common sense. But I was under the
>>impression that those who took the decision for the order in languages at
>>this hotel were vicious. Not very good indeed for their customer base...
>>The guy who did that should be reprimanded... Anyway they risk to lose me...

>As I noted in a prior comment, since I assume you were in your room at the
>time, it should have offered YOU French as option 1 (since that could be
>set at check in time). For a Voice Mail system in a HOTEL, the lack of a
>way to flag preferred language on a per-room basis is poor design. I do
>computer program design for a living and as an example of this principle,
>I designed an ATM system that could display in a number of different
>languages BUT based on the card used would default to the correct language
>prior to offering the "What Language do you want" screen.

[Alain] Nice. I was surprised that when I paid with my credit card in
Norway in February, my bill was in French (it means that my prefered
language is encoded on the card -- I don't even benefit of this service in
Canada to the West of Montréal). However I do benefit it on ATM machines
all the time (but in Québec keys on the display panels are bilingual while
they are in English only in Toronto -- it is not professional work, or it
is deliberately offensive).

    I could have mentioned worse as an anecdote (what not to do -- here are
human factors, it is not a technology problem in this case -- perhaps a
system could take this into consideration): in Montréal, at the
Delta-centre-ville hotel (my prefered one in Montréal -- I won't change but
they were slow to anser my complaints), which offers only one language for
voice-mail -- selected at the reception by predominently native
French-speaking personnel, it took me 3 complaints (3 stays because during
the stays themselves they did not correct it even after 2 days) before they
made my choice French. I also complained that the newspaper they gave me in
the morning was an English newspaper from Toronto instead of the French one
from Montréal -- it took in this case 2 complaints before they corrected
it, now they give me the French -- and the English -- newspaper... They
insist that I be exposed to English, and this is in Montréal... As I am
information-maniac, I did not complain this time, I read both (sometimes
one says "white" to report an event, the other says "black" -- it is funny,
sometimes not so funny in fact). But it makes artificial business to a
given newspaper in many cases if they do this for all customers who
complain. Customers pay for this.

    Now that's life in Montréal, and in Toronto, an insane game, sometimes.

    System designers, even if teh language choice can be made by default,
pelase keep the possibility for the actual end-user to change it by
himself, and in a common sense fashion (not like the Toronto Radisson hotel
system I mentioned)...

Alain LaBonté

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