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I have found quite many discussions around country and language selection but none of them was mobile specific. So I'd like to open a new discussion around that ...

I'm currently designing a mobile site that has around 60 country versions. A country version is not only a language variant but each has individual contents.

Users will be automatically directed to a country version. Still, there will be a country switch.

I was thinking of different options but I'm not sure if I already came across a good or even optimal solution. Could you think of others?

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  1. Country list – clustered by regions Long scrolling page displaying all countries in a list grouped by 5 continents (e.g. North America, Europe) or region Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Caribbean)

    • straight forward
    • pure scrolling / no other interaction required
    • regions offering orientation (still the user has to identify his region first)
    • long list
  2. Similar to 1. – but regions are offered as accordions Countries are clustered by region and nested in an accordion – all collapsed by default. User will only view the countries for a selected region.

    • user gets a quick overview of available regions
    • regions offering orientation
    • users have to identify relevant region
    • accordions on mobile
  3. Long country list combined with a input field to narrow down list Country list A-Z – probably without regional clusters Additional text input on top so that the user can search for a country - list narrows down while typing.

The filter seemed helpful at first glance but the more I think about it the more I guess it would be a weird scenario on mobile

  • interaction /typing required
  • keyboard would hide valuable real estate - the effect of the filter probably not directly visible
  • Take a second look at your choice of regions and their names. Both are awful, bordering on insults (even if just quick and dirty mockups): just 2 countries in “North America”, only Western ones in Europe, no paralleling “South America”, for instance. Geographical borders are always somewhat arbitrary, of course, but it’s better to avoid cultural stereotypes, even well established ones, when approaching a global audience. A Map Filter might work better to narrow down the list. A Graphical Flag Filter could be an interesting experiment (flags with star, vertical tricolors, predominantly red, …). – Crissov Dec 2 '14 at 16:47
  • Thanks Crissov though I find awful a pretty hard criticism. 1. The country switch does not intend to list all countries in the world but only the ones where products are available (=countries with their own site). Therefore, North America only includes 2 out of 5 countries. 2. Regions go back to the 'Classification of countries by major area and region of the world' by the UN. So, they are not wrong – and I assume Latin America is a valid and understandable counterpart for North America – even if it doesn't have "South" in its name. ... – John Sample Dec 3 '14 at 16:26
  • ... I guess it would be better to list "Latin America" directly below "North America". Else I find the labels pretty common and clear. Something like a flag filter seems to be a nice approach. Though I wouldn't follow up on it as it seems to be a very playful approach that would not suit my audience and seems not quick enough to serve as an acceptable solution. – John Sample Dec 3 '14 at 16:30
  • What about an autocomplete field like this idea: baymard.com/labs/country-selector ? – Federico Ostrofsky Jul 6 '15 at 21:25
  • Why don't you just go for A-Z listing of all the countries? – Ades Jul 7 '15 at 4:35
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A map. It's fast, and I think it is more recognition than recall. Almost every user of technology can locate their country in a map (even if they don't know in which continent is located).

Also, grouping things in not strict groups is always a bad idea: Russia is in Europe (most population) and in Asia (most area); Mexico is in North America (geographically), but it's also Latin America; Greenland is in North America, but it's also linked to Europe; …

Something like this but with zoom. You can make the first click zooms (and maybe provisionally selects); and consecuent clicks selects unless there are many countries under in the same zone (then zooms again). Also the user must can zoom out, and drag to move.

  • you can identify the country based on location, which is easily available on mobile devices, and display it as already selected option. This way user just needs to confirm that location / country. – Vishal Kardode Dec 3 '14 at 6:45
  • @VishalKardode The question already said "Users will be automatically directed to a country version. Still, there will be a country switch". This is how to change the country. – ESL Dec 3 '14 at 7:02
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    Honestly, I doubt that a map is a good experience considering given requirements – especially on mobile. 60 country websites compared to approx 200 countries in the world The map would be a dead-end in many cases or at least require an extra case if there's no site for a country – e.g. direct the user to the global site, inform him that this is because his country isn't covered A map will always require interaction like the zoom Imagine selecting Monaco ... It would be possible to make the map accessible by regions – but then again you'd have to group countries which you say is a bad idea. – John Sample Dec 3 '14 at 9:14

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