The creation of "Yaolan.com" -- A Site for Pre-natal and Parenting Education in Chinese

James T. Caldwell - DAE Interactive Marketing

Intended Audience: Manager, Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, Marketer
Session Level: Intermediate

WWW.Yaolan.com combines the power of Unicode and other "best-of-breed" multilingual technology to deliver a blend of intercultural public education and commercial opportunity.

"Yaolan.com.cn" is a learning center for Chinese parents in the stages of pregnancy, child-birth, and early child raising. The challenge we faced was to deliver useful educational information -- in an attractive, interactive format -- to potential and new parents who might not be computer literate, and to their medical advisors. We began with over 4,000 pages of Chinese text and graphics. We sought to integrate tasteful and appropriate advertisements with easy navigation and a high degree of interactivity.

Although the initial website was intended for new parents and prospective parents in China, we hoped to save future work when, in the next stage, we will make the learning center available visitors who prefer to read Chinese in Traditional characters. Our planning also included the possibility of porting the Learning Center for Parents to other languages.

We built the site on an English NT Server so English-speaking engineers could maintain the hardware and software while the site delivered a native Chinese experience to users in China. We chose to store and index all data in Unicode on SQL server, and to develop language and locale interfaces in Internet Information Server and Site Server. This presentation will outline the development process and some key techniques we used to solve critical linguistic and programming problems.

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21 Jun 2000, Webmaster