Each application should support IDNs just as it would an ASCII domain name. For instance, in comments on a photo sharing site, or in a social chat platform, IDNs should be supported. They should display properly as Unicode strings and the links should resolve properly to appropriate content. Modern software automatically creates links when a URL is typed (for example, typing should automatically create a link in the web page or form).  This feature, called “linkification,” should also work with IDNs.

In past years, we have examined the ability of applications to correctly display an IDN URL. When an IDN URL appears as part of web content it should display and function in the same way as any other URL. The expected action should take place when a user sees an IDN URL – for instance, mouseovers should continue to work, and if the user clicks on the link, the correct web page should be loaded.

In previous years, we have seen significant improvement in Universal Acceptance for IDNs.  Four years ago 92.3% of the sites we tested did not recognise IDNs in the same way and ASCII URLs.  Three years ago the same statistic improved to 54.6% and two years ago it was 45%. Last year, using the same methodology, we found that 38.7% of the sites we tested handled IDNs as content appropriately. This year the pace of improvement slowed somewhat – to 31.5%.  Still this remains an area of great improvement for IDN Universal Acceptance.