I have a web application which has

  • An UI Language (All the normal translations)
  • A Culture (Things like Number Formats and Date Formats)

The user should choose his Language and Culture at the Login Screen.

My question is: Where to place the Culture Field (and how to name it)? In my example i placed it below the Languagefield. Or should i hide it an only make it accessible on demand? Login Screen

My fear is that the user gets confused if he has to choose both Language and Culture. But this option has to be available because for a example a user from Switzerland could choose to use the English language. But he also needs his Swiss Numberformat.

  • Are these 'culture' options going to be global - i.e. the same options available regardless of the language chosen, or are there specific culture options for each language? (Also, where did you get the term 'culture' from in this case? I've never heard of culture being used in this way before, the word has many other meanings, and associating it with Language is going to send very confusing messages to people - 'what is the culture of my language?'
    – JonW
    Jun 19, 2013 at 9:28
  • Yes they will be global. As I mentioned with the Switzerland example. In Switzerland there are users that use the English language and there are users that use the German language. If a user in Switzerland now selects the English Language he normaly would get the English number formats. But he doesn't want the English number format - he wants the Swiss number format.
    – frugi
    Jun 19, 2013 at 9:38
  • So you would still potentially want to offer the German Language option and the Swiss number format as a choice to the user? Anyone from any language can choose the Swiss number format, regardless of their language choice?
    – JonW
    Jun 19, 2013 at 9:43
  • @JonW yes exactly
    – frugi
    Jun 19, 2013 at 9:53
  • @JonW 'culture' is a perfectly valid (technical) term in this context. Quote: The predefined cultures [...] provide information such as the language and calendar used in a country/region, and the text conventions from MSDN Create Custom Cultures
    – jfrej
    Jun 19, 2013 at 15:34

3 Answers 3


What you're looking for is called a 'Locale' (a more technical term) or 'Region settings' (better to understand for users).

As some countries and regions share the same format it might be a better approach to ask the user what looks familiar to them:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

If you need to stick to the UI you've shown maybe this is a solution:


download bmml source

In your example the user is obviously already registered (as they have username and password). Why would they want to select language/locale every time they log in? I would expect this to be in something like 'account settings' and not required to select on every login.

  • 1
    This is right: "Why would they want to select language/locale every time they log in" The selected Language and Culture is saved in a cookie.
    – frugi
    Jun 19, 2013 at 10:39
  • 2
    But cookies can get lost :) Why not save it in the users' account since he apparently has one, and load the page with the format according to the users setting? Jun 19, 2013 at 10:46

You may simply follow the windows operating system way. This last field can be called Date/Number Format and it can be provided as a configurable item at user level.

enter image description here

  • I am considering it
    – frugi
    Jun 19, 2013 at 9:59

Have you considered automatic culture detection by geo-tagging? The less options user have, the less is the possibility to screw something up

  • Please provide an option somewhere, though, even if it's hidden within the user's account settings. There are few things more annoying than being incorrectly identified by geoip. Also, comments on the question mention the possibility of bilingual countries, which would not work well with geoip. And you also need to account for users traveling overseas.
    – Bob
    Jun 19, 2013 at 15:51
  • There is a possibility to automatically detect the culture and and giving the user option to accept or change it. As I understood, we are talking about date and time formats, not about languages.
    – Oleg
    Jun 20, 2013 at 6:46

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