"Digit substitution is maybe a tolerable hack for displaying UI, but it’s definitely bad if you’re creating content."

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/03/31 07:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2011/03/31/10148063.aspx

So the question the other day was interesting:

I see that the OOB number field only allows English numerals and doesn’t allow say for example Arabic numerals. Is there a general rule we follow here or is this true only for the OOB number field. The reason I ask is that we have a feature called the ‘storefront’ and they have a text box which takes number of seats as input. Now a user in Saudi Arabia might not know the English numerals. How do we expect the end user experience to be like for those users?

Now if you are a regular reader you may know why I found this interesting.

After all, there is my Suddenly, in a bit more time than a blink of an eye, "standards support" becomes "less i18n support" blog, where I pointed out how IE decided to start moving out of the digit substitution business.

For the ironic point in the question asked above -- since all of the Arabic keyboards we ship depend on digit substitution to show the "Hindi" digits, the answer to the question is easy: the web page probably won't support the notion of any normal user being able to type those other digits, ever.

So technically it isn't a scenario.

I have a colleague who works in this area who mentioned to me the other day:

Digit substitution is maybe a tolerable hack for displaying UI, but it’s definitely bad if you’re creating content.

(And getting worse all the time!)

There you have it. Maybe we're moving away from digit substitution.

It's not like browsers are exactly going out of style, right?

But how come nobody is doing the work to improve support for

to support these non- ASCII digits, if we are truly moving away from digit substitution?

It seems like someone forgot to tag second base here, didn't they?

All I'd like to know is what the future is gonna need to look like. Since people like me may evenb own own a piece of what will contribute to that future, someone needs to be pushing for a plan here -- so that I can do my part to contribute to that future plan...

Perhaps the answer is to do nothing, not give users a good way to type the other types of digits, and then use the lack of documents with the digits as proof that no one is using them.

I'd like to think we're better than that, though....

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referenced by

2012/05/04 You know, it isn't always about us...

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