About this site

My name is James Offer. I’m an user experience designer with many years experience designing for multilingual websites as well a keen interest in language and culture: this site is a convergence of sorts between these interests and my vocation.

Being a designer, I’ve long been aware of the pitfalls of using flags to represent languages on websites. However it seems the more I travel and the more I browse the internet, this flag-as-language convention seems as prevalent as ever.

This blog has two general aims: to show the fundamental flaws in using flags to represent languages and how to create good experiences when dealing with multilingual and multi-regional content.

While the tone of the blog is aimed mainly at those working online and in software, I hope the lessons can extend through to the other industries such as travel and hospitality – who are probably the also as guilty of flag misappropriation as anyone.

If you’ve got any comments or thoughts on anything you’ve seen on the blog, please comment form on the relevant post! It’s great to build a conversation that everyone can see and join.

But if you’d prefer to contact me directly — or just get in touch generally — drop me a line here:


5 thoughts on “About this site”

  1. Hi,

    what do you think about this contest winner regarding a language switcher icon

    I think it should be the standardised language switcher icon. In contrast to this one http://www.languageicon.org/index-icon.php it really conveys its meaning very well.

    Do you have any means to promote the language turnstile icon?

    I’m not associated to the designer of the icon, I just think there’s a need for a standardised icon and this one is the best I’ve seen so far.

    Kind regards,
    Bogomir Engel

    1. Does anyone have idea if the Turnstile icon is freeware or what licence does apply? I’ve searched the web high and low and found nothing.
      I don’t feel like adding a “Language icon designed by Farhat Datta” or whatever in my About box, so I’m sticking to a self-made globe icon for now.

      1. At this time I recommend COMPLETELY AVOIDING the “language icon” by Farhat Datta as advocated at http://www.languageicon.org/

        I like the look of it, and the idea of a standard international icon for the purpose is great. But the “languageicon.org” people seem to want it both ways – they want it to be a standard, but they also want to have special exclusive rights to the symbol. Instead it’s under a “Semi-Noncommercial” license, which is simply a non-commercial license. It’s fine if they want to have an exclusive license to a trademarked image, or if they want something standardized, but they want to have exclusive control and licensing over a standard. I think that is unacceptable.

        The CII Best Practices badge was using it, but is planning to STOP using it because of licensing issues:

        The widely-used font awesome project was using it in version 4, but has stopped using the “license icon” in version 5. Font awesome uses this symbol instead, and it’s decent:

        Most importantly, font awesome is released under the widely-used SIL license.

        I have tried to contact Farhat Datta, but have not been able to find contact information.

  2. Just stumbled across your site. Well done you showing case studies of good design and highlighting shoddy and incorrect work.

    I work as a graphic designer on multi-language publications. Seeing flags used to represent language options is really infuriating and misleading

    Keep up the great blog James

  3. Hey James,

    Just wanted to say thanks for the posts. This blog is a great resource for interaction design in regards to internationalisation and I’ve actually made changes to my own codebase in response to your suggestions.

    Thanks again

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