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Grouping best practices for list with international data

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I have a grouped list of items sorted alphabetically. Groups are created from the first character of each item title.

All characters that not belongs to any alphabet are grouped into a unique group (things like 0, 1, @, . are grouped together into #).

Question(s):

  • How do you handle grouping in Cyrillic, Thaï, Indonesian, etc.?
  • How do you handle grouping in a list with Latin and non-Latin items?

This question is related to a GroupView in a Windows Store App (Windows 8), but can be applied to all kind of devices.

Edit: For reference, we have to support these languages/alphabets:

  • All Latin,
  • Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish,
  • Cyrillic,
  • Greek,
  • Arabian
  • Thai, Indonesian, Korean

Answers

When in a localized environment, the best thing you can do is to group according to the local alphabet. On my Windows Phone I use English language as localization even though my navive language is Swedish. This means the phone organize all other letters of my alphabet to the # just before a, b, c,...

Grouping best practices for list with international data

I would like the option to set my contacts grouping according to my Swedish alphabet maiking my friends visible where I expect them to be. Åsa, Ärling and Örjan today shows up under # - instead of in the end where we organize these letters in Swedish.

The Swedish alphabet ends with X, Y, Z, Å, Ä, Ö. And as a consequence the Cryllic alphabet would be grouped accordingly:

Grouping best practices for list with international data

Latin and non-Latin order of items

As for Latin and non-Latin items could be tough. It really depends on which non-Latin items you have, and should be treated with care. A general rule could be to use the Wikipedia help page on Alphabetic order when appropriate. At least it gives you a clue how they could be organized.

!"#$%&'()*+,-./0123456789:;<=>?@ ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ[]^_' abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz{|}~ ¡¢£¤¥¦§¨ª«­¯°±²³´µ•¸¹º»¼½¾¿ ÀÁÂÃÄÅÆÇÈÉÊËÌÍÎÏÐÑÒÓÔÕÖ×ØÙÚÛÜÝÞßàáâãäåæçèéêëìíîïðñòóôõö÷øùúûüýþÿ ĀāĂ㥹ĆćĈĉĊċČčĎďĐđĒēĔĕĖėĘęĚěĜĝĞğĠġĢģĤĥĦħĨĩĪīĬĭĮįİıIJijĴĵĶķĸĹĺĻļĽľĿŀŁłŃńŅņŇňʼnŊŋ ŌōŎŏŐőŒœŔŕŖŗŘřŚśŜŝŞşŠšŢţŤťŦŧŨũŪūŬŭŮůŰűŲųŴŵŶŷŸŹźŻżŽžſ ǺǻǼǽǾǿ΄΅Ά·ΈΉΊΌΎΏΐ ΑΒΓΔΕΖΗΘΙΚΛΜΝΞΟΠΡΣΤΥΦΧΨΩΪΫάέήίΰ αβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρςστυφχψωϊϋόύώ

Cyrillic are grouped the same way, using first character of the name. I do believe the same rules are applied to Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish. Not sure about Arabian and Thai though.

And concerning mixing several languages. I think the better way is to try to keep the languages separated: I mean, do not mix the characters of different languages!

As an example I've done a slightly modified iOS address book navigation scheme (original address book has no ability to show grouping for several languages unfortunately):

Grouping best practices for list with international data

Or, alternatively, you may try to give users an ability to quickly switch between language groups (by swiping or by buttons, etc):

Grouping best practices for list with international data

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