No way to join the social – Is the lack of global languages support on Zune a problem, or not at all?


It’s been a pretty long time since the first generation of Zune came out. Microsoft wants to attract us as potential users to join the social – they made pretty good media sharing and community features so that to distinct from similar products made by other companies.

However, Zune has a very serious usability problem that even though a huge amount of users have been complaining all the time, it’s never been solved. It is the lack of support for most of the global languages.

It’s true that Zune has not yet been available globally. However, the assumption of people in North America only listen to English, French, and Spanish songs just does not make sense. There’re people originally from almost anywhere in the world reside in North America temporarily or permanently. They speak different languages and they have their entertainment needs as well. They listen to English songs, but they also listen to songs on their own languages.

You will be able to see the demand of global languages support by just doing a simple search on the Internet. You will see a huge number of complains from the date the first generation of Zune came out all the way up to the present time.

The users do not even need Microsoft to have Zune menus displayed in their languages. They just need Zune to have the ability to show their song information correctly on the device. Technically, this is really a simple task for Microsoft to do. So it’s become a do-or-not-do decision for Microsoft. But provided the fact that until the newly released version 2.5, Zune still doesn’t support most global languages, I guess Microsoft made the not-do decision. But I still hope in the upcoming third generation, they can do it.

If you now think that Microsoft has done nothing about this issue, you are wrong. In order for the users to solve this design or usability problem, Microsoft published a Knowledge Base article (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/928210/en-us?sd=zune). It simply asks the user to change all the song information in other languages to their equivalent English representation. Well, does anybody like to find some spare time to translate and change the name, album, and artist information of 10,000 songs in the media library? Or do you, as a user, want to just simply buy an ipod, iriver, or Creative zen?  Microsoft tried to ask the customers to solve their own design issues. This will not work out in this user centric era!

As the result, people have songs in foreign languages are in a frustrating situation. They may like their Zunes; they may like the social; but they don’t want to see the boxes showing in the device instead of the correct characters or languages anymore! Finally, they decide to switch, they either buy a much cheaper music player but supports 20 languages including their own, or go to use an ipod.

Microsoft should really do something to solve this – provided it’s really just a matter of whether or not putting some font files in the system partition with just a little extra work.