Thursday, March 03, 2011

#Fundraising in #India

In telling the developing story of Narayam, only one aspect of the issues languages face on the Internet is concentrated on. It is the part that helps our editors write articles in our projects. It is understood that they are able to read what they write and, for this to be true they have the right font, the right browser on their computer.

Having the right font and the right browser is something that is easily taken for granted. For many people the realities are starkly different. Santosh told me that in the cyber cafes in rural India Windows XP with IE 6 are dominant. The screen shot I received from Santosh comes with annotations of everything that is wrong when displaying Malayalam with IE 8.

When people see their language mangled like this, it is quite obvious that they will not get to the page where Jimmy is telling us that he is also a volunteer let alone that people will donate. There may be many poor people in India, there are also many rich people in India and in order to lure the latter to our donation link, a solution is needed that makes the Indic languages look good for all of them.

Webfonts provide an answer to this problem. It is a solution under development and this solution has a working solution for Firefox users. As there are still cross browser issues, there is no complete solution yet. Indian news portals are using Unicode technology with webfonts and these do not work for Chrome.

Even though more development is needed, supporting our languages with a partial solution will give us more traffic. It will bring our content to more readers and we will even get a fighting chance to raise funds in India.
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