I'm looking at potentially designing a site which will have 'mirrors' in multiple sites around the world. I am experimenting with the best method to help users change both their country and language of the site. (I don't want to combine the two, as they may wish to view the Italian site in an English language, or change the language of the UK site from English to Spanish, for example). Therefore I would like to have 2 seperate selectors: one for Country and one for Language. The Country selector is the area I am ideally looking for guidance on.
Of the available options the following are the most likely (although any other suggestions are welcome).
1.Choosing a country from a Dropdown is straightforward to implement and can sort countries alphabetically, but will suffer hugely from standard dropdown issues (lots of content--all countries in the world!--in a long list is hard to navigate and use).
2.Choosing a country from a Map is more intuitive, but selecting small areas of the map would be tricky (how do you pinpoint Ecuador exactly on a global map?) This would require a list of countries alphabetically too, which therefore takes up a lot of screen space.
3.Free Text entry field. I have not seen this approach on country selection before, presumably because of the difficulties in interpreting user entries efficiently.
Has anyone else had this issue before? and if so, which method of Country selection was found to be preferable to users?