According to the 2014 Global Internet Report by the Internet Society, web content must be adapted to attract more users on a local basis. The report emphasizes that a key factor for content usability is the language in which the content is available.
The illustration below shows the amount of available content and the proportion of native speakers of the world’s ten most common spoken languages. As we can see, English-speaking Internet users have an overabundance of English content, while the Chinese have proportional access to little Chinese content.
Illustration: Mother tongue, language used mainly on the internet, primary language of web content (Source: 2014Global Internet Report, Internet Society, p. 121)
A 2011 study by the Internet Society, the OECD and UNESCO (The Relationship between Local Content, Internet Development and Access Prices) pointed out that local content supports regional language and culture and increases local traffic. However, on its own, localized content does not guarantee optimal use if the content itself is not readily available.
Local content means that it is relevant to the user and written in the user’s native language.
Information relevant to users is often closely linked to knowledge circulating within their communities. These communities may be geographic, cultural, linguistic, professional or religious or they may relate to hobbies and interests. This evolves over time.
Local content may be created by local community members, or adapted (localized, required by a member of the local community) based on content in another language or another country.
Local content measures
They can be connected to a language such as English or Chinese, or to a country.
In Switzerland, local content measures may be solely related to the country since our languages, except for Romansh, are used in other countries. The same applies to the number of.ch domains per capita, the number of blogs/newspapers online per capita, etc.
Linguistic criterion isn’t enough to determine if there is sufficient “Swiss” content- written in a national language and relevant to Swiss residents (in terms of legislation, e-commerce delivery, currency, etc.). On the other hand, even in Switzerland, it’s always interesting to see the distribution of German, French and Italian content.