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I'm currently developing the user interface for a digital restaurant menu on a 7" 480x800 px tablet and the team decided to insert a language switch function that should be activated by a button on the screen.

Unfortunately we already ran out of space in the bottom menu and I had to position it in the right side of the header (notice the English/American flag in the image below). At first sight, this seems to be ok, but once the software is deployed to the tablet, I have noticed that the button is small enough to miss and enter the Sandwiches category instead most of the time. Some have been telling me to enlarge the header vertically so the button becomes easier to touch, but since the header is only meant to tell the user in which section he is, it seems wrong for me to occupy even more space and it also makes it aesthetically unpleasant...

Menu mockup

I'm breaking my head trying to find a better way to change languages in a non obstructive, clear interface, but nothing comes to my mind. I hope someone comes with help on this!

Thank you!

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If switching to a landscape orientation is a possibility, you would have space to add another button. Alternatively, with the given interface, "Help" is where I'd look for that sort of thing. Do you expect the language to be changed a lot? – Karen Jun 26 '12 at 16:57
unfortunately, landscape orientation is not an option here, but it could be a great solution if it did :D actually, the language shouldn't be changed a lot. at most, one time per costumer – gustavofritsch Jun 26 '12 at 19:23


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Two options I see, is to (A) move the back button up to the top right, where it is traditionally on a browser and iOS devices. This gives you room on the bottom to put the language option. Or (B) the language button could grow onto the logo bar, since it is more of a global setting anyway and not just isolated to this category (menu), which is what seems to be implied by having it on the category bar.

Edit: After thinking about this a bit more, is it within the application limits to add a landing page that would allow a user to change the language?


download bmml source

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I like this. And it has the advantage of allowing "Language" to become "Settings" if necessary. – Andrew Leach Jun 26 '12 at 19:07
Both seem to add excessive prominence to Language which is probably used by a small number of users. – Ben Brocka Jun 26 '12 at 19:08
I've already been at A once, but the top Back button suffers from the same problem of the language button (and is used way more often, thus creating more problems)... about B, I agree with Ben Brocka. – gustavofritsch Jun 26 '12 at 19:30
+1 I like the first option. – Danny Varod Jun 26 '12 at 19:39
I really like the option after the edit... going to give it a try and show the team something like that. Thanks – gustavofritsch Jun 26 '12 at 20:50

You could make the layout resolution dependent, so that for phones and tablets you get different sizes and slightly different arrangements.

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oh, i forgot to mention... i'm working on a fixed resolution (we are providing the tablets) 480x800 on a 7" screen – gustavofritsch Jun 26 '12 at 15:55
And there is only room for 5 buttons on the narrow scale of a 7" screen? – Danny Varod Jun 26 '12 at 16:06
if they were only images, it could have room for about 6~7, but the text sometimes becomes wider than the icon, so I had to cap at 5 – gustavofritsch Jun 26 '12 at 19:26
Change "call waiter" to "waiter" and "my order" to "order" it will buy you some room :-) – Danny Varod Jun 26 '12 at 19:41
yeah, I could keep on truncating the labels, but I guess that sometime, in some language I may run in gigantic german-like words and mess up the layout :S – gustavofritsch Jun 26 '12 at 20:54

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