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Webinar: Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) Variant: Examining the User Experience Implication of the Active Variant TLDs

Date: 13 February 2013
Time: 13:00 – 14:30 UTC (5:00am – 6:30am PST)
Adobe Connect: http://icann.adobeconnect.com/p9tg7xk2lbw/
Related Documents: Examining the User Experience Implications for Active Variant IDN TLDs – Webinar presentation [PDF, 677 KB]

Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) serve as powerful tools for broadening the Internet's capacity and accessibility; however, they also raise novel issues. One important issue concerns "variants" which occur when a single character can be identified with two or more different Unicode Code Points with graphic representations that may or may not be visually similar. IDN variants contain one or more such characters and therefore, if not handled correctly, might result in user confusion or a poor user experience.

In an effort to develop potential solutions for the delegation of IDN variant Top-Level Domains (TLDs), IDN Variant Project Teams, consisting of volunteers, subject matter expert consultants and ICANN staff, have conducted case studies in six scripts, produced an integrated report, and are currently underway to completing three projects investigating potential solutions for IDN Variant TLDs delegation.

One of these projects is called the Examining the User Experience Implications of Active Variant TLDs Project (P6). The purpose of the project is to gain an understanding of issues that could arise from activating IDN Variant TLDs and offer recommendations to users to avoid such issues. Examples of user roles that have been identified include registrants, registrars, registry operators, system administrators, network operators, application developers, and end users.

Project team has published for public comment the Draft Final Report for Examining the User Experience Implications of Active Variant TLDs and is seeking to establish a dialog with the community to refine proposed principles, impacts and recommendations of the study.

This webinar is offered to complement that process both by presenting the key concepts and gathering user input.

The IDN Variant TLDs Program team is looking forward to your participation.


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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."