Internationalization fail


I just visited the Adobe online store and eventually left in disgust because apparently it is unable to service me. This is not the first time something like this has happened to me so I decided to spell it out a little.

Once upon a time, I signed up on the Adobe site to use the online version of photoshop. I probably was still in Finland at the time so naturally, I used their English localized web site. Fast forward to today and I am interested in downloading the trial version of Adobe Lightroom to play with it and possibly buy it.

To do that you need to log in. So I log in. Then it asks me for my address. Fine. Except, I don’t live in the US and there is no country switching thingy in the form. Apparently it hardwired the country choice (which really was a language preference) into my account. Fail #1.

It gets worse. They do have a country switcher on the front page and in the store. So I set that to Germany. Now it addresses me in German. Fail #2

Of course there is no language switcher. It is assumed (wrongly) that I must be a native speaker and therefore want to be addressed in German. Always. Fail #3

So by this point I decide to be pragmatic and select some region they haven’t localized for to get the site in English. So I select Eastern Europe, which is apparently a region not worth breaking up into countries and technically I live in the former DDR, which used to be eastern Europe. So I once again go to the store. Prices in euros this time. Great! Although effectively the price just went up 80 euros since 300$ is ~220 Euro and not 300 Euro! Then I get to the point I need to enter my address, it still insists on a US address. Fail #4. If people select a region, it’s probably because they live there.

Underlying this problem is a common failure of online retailers to grasp the basics of internationalization and demographics that is causing them to lose the business of millions of potential customers who have a language/region combination that they can’t support. This is especially silly when the language is English and the online retailer is US based. English is a great language. World wide, there must be many more non native speakers of it than native speakers. Especially migrants (like) me tend to rely heavily on English.

So, I am not going to be an Adobe customer.

I’m not an iTunes user either for the same reason and for the reason that I’m not big into German dubbed movies and schlagers, which is pretty much what they tried to sell me on the few times I tried to use it. Also, I declined to accept the terms of use when I was living in Finland because they were in Finnish, which is something I don’t speak and I tend not to agree with official looking text that I can’t read.