Layout ideas for your multilingual website

Creating or designing a website isn’t as easy as choosing from an assortment of templates the one you consider the coolest. While the look and feel of a website are very important factors, they aren’t the only things that you have to think about before making a decision.

It’s a fact: the success of your website is linked to its layout, how users feel while they are using it or browsing. This definitely influences your visitors for better or for worse in their opinion of your site and whether they’ll consider making a purchase.

No kidding!  According to a report from the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA), a poor website user experience is detrimental to businesses. So having the perfect layout is a pivotal aspect of website and user experience design. 

You may have also noticed that they share some features, that’s because just like all other industries, trends also take the design world by storm. Nowadays full bleed images and a three column design are all the rage with designers.

But here’s the problem, you should know beforehand that either path is valid, they both have their pros and cons. So, what do you think you should do? The options are to take advantage of the familiarity of these elements in the collective imaginary, or you can decide to stand out and bring attention to your store by doing something wildly different! It’s not an easy question to answer, and your choice will depend on your target audience.

The characteristics of a great website

We can comfortably say that the possibilities for greatness come in many forms and from many places, there is a lot to work with, lots of options, lots of potential. Your best choices will depend on your target audience and the type of business you run. These choices form and reflect your brand image. 

According to Adobe, two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain when pressed for time; and 38% of people will leave a website if it’s unattractive. These seem like very general statements lacking a lot of specificity. But UX and UI are always being studied by design experts, so instead of looking for a definition of “beautiful” according to a stranger, we should look for things that we could turn beautiful, and define what beauty means in our context.

Since not all businesses are the same, the criteria for a good website won’t match either, but we can talk about all the different elements that comprise the task of designing a website and you can reflect on them while also thinking about your business area and principles.

  1. Clutter-free: Put space between your content, try to display only what the user is interested in. Get rid of the “ornaments”. Have substatntial negative space so the elements will be more easily read.
  2. Interface: Make navigation simple. Have straightforward paths from one section to another.
  3. Visual hierarchy: Arrange the graphic elements in order of importance. The most important things can come first or can occupy the most space, help your visitors navigate by guiding their eyes through the different elements. For example, people read bigger things first.
  4. Color palette and image choice: In a nutshell, bright colors stand out and therefore work great as accents, and paired with the right imagery you can keep your visitors interested longer!
  5. Mobile-friendly: As of July 2019, the default for all new web domains is mobile-first indexing and also boosted ranks of mobile-friendly webpages in searches. So make sure that the layout of your mobile version also works well.
  6. Language switching button: When the facts say that we live in a cross-border economy where the country you’re living in doesn’t limit where you can purchase from, not having a multilingual website is not an option if you are looking to thrive.

What do multilanguage websites look like?

Great news! You can relax, creating a multilingual website is not an ordeal, it’s as easy as adding a small language button to one of the corners of your website layout using ConveyThis. Doing business online internationally has never been easier.

Let’s take a look at some website layouts and analyze what makes them so attractive.

Crabtree & Evelyn

Let’s start with Crabtree & Evelyn, a body and fragrance enterprise that started in Germany but has taken its business global with a great layout and language options.

Since the variety of products is so wide, they have chosen not to overwhelm their visitors by taking care of their layout and making careful design decisions, like filling the screen of their homepage first with a simple message, in this case, about the holiday season, and when you scroll down or click on the “Shop Now” button, the visitor is led to the products.

It’s a really sophisticated and clean look, visitors will definitely stay longer, captivated by the experience. Regarding the menu, there are two options for searching, a search button where you can type a keyword, if you have narrowed down what you are looking for; or click the shop button, and then choose where or how you want to explore, by category, by collection, or check out the gift sets.

And now to the most amazing thing ever, the language switcher. You can find it at the bottom of the page, and when you click it, it shows you the current store settings, with drop down menus with alternatives.

And this is something we’ve talked about previously on the article on types of language buttons, it’s fantastic that they have two options, one for area and the other for language, because we know that not everyone is browsing in their language or in their country. This website is the perfect example of a well done localization job. Contact the ConveyThis team to find out more information on how you can make your website more welcoming to users all over the world!

Digital Menta

First of all, stunning work. Great decisions all over the place, don’t you think? And fantastic use of color for establishing contrast and focus areas. Let’s list all the good things about this site: negative space, different sized fonts, custom artwork, color and tint.

The arrangement of the different sized elements shows you where to start reading and the white space gives the reader time to pause. 

Here we have a clear example of visual hierarchy:

From least to most important: the business partners in lighter tints, “Make it happen” in a small font, “let’s talk” button with black background and white letters, “Evolutionary digital”  in a large and bolded font, and “marketing” in the same font as before but highlighted with green.

Additionally, the imperatives “Make it happen” and “Let’s talk” also aid the visitor in their browsing experience.

The navigation bar is as simple and clear as Crabtree & Evelyn’s, and the social media bar at the right is a great choice for businesses that rely heavily on social media as a tool.

You can find their language buttons at the bottom of the page, they are small, but all the options are visible and their colors are bright and very different to the Digital Menta color palette so they can be easily found.

Yogang

Here we have an adorable example of decluttered websites. There is a lot of negative space and the color figures are animated, this instills a feeling of curiosity in visitors! Casual browsers will definitely stay and take a look at the rest of the website and learn more about Yogang. Brilliant design.

Yogang is a fun game for children that combines physical activity, relaxation, sharing and creativity, and their homepage reflects that. The animation of the different characters doing yoga poses is not about showing off programing skills, it’s a reflection of the spirit of the product. 

Simultaneously adorable and a call to action to make Yogang part of your children’s childhood. They appeal to the impulse buyers with a “Buy” button and also help a potential customer learn more about the product first by guiding them to the tutorials.

Their longer menu bar is justified in that they sell B2B and B2C, so they have different kind of visitors looking for different things and they all have to find what their are looking for fast.

Their language button is an unobtrusive button with the options “EN” and “FR”. They have narrow language options but they clearly identified their largest markets and have focused heavily on providing the best experience possible for the user.

Navy or Grey

Lots of custom artwork in this list, we know. It’s such a versatile element and these websites use them so well to create a specific look and feel.

Navy and Grey is the last example on this list, it also has the features that we have praised before, did you identify them, too? It makes for a very sophisticated experience, it’s captivating. It makes me feel calm, seeing all that negative space, I’m not overwhelmed at all by the idea of browsing this website and the clear menu bar assures me that I’ll find what I’m looking for without any struggle.

I appreciate how they have separated “Shirts” and “Suits” in the menu, it’s a suitable decision for a tailoring business, many other stores would have created subpages for these products, and that’s also a reasonable decision, but for Navy or Grey, it contributes to that polished look.

This website in particular, has put their language button at the top right, and the font they have chosen is the same as the rest of the website. And at the bottom left, they have added a Whatsapp button for quick contact. 

Design a great website for your audience

The websites listed are great because they follow the general tenets of good design, but also, because all the decisions can be justified, the reasons can be the business area they are in, but it can also be the target audience. So remember to keep in mind your business’ identity, ideals and audience when making decisions.

The key is to think about how to simplify the search and how to lead your visitor to what they are looking for with the least amount of clicks.

In a nutshell, give your visitors a call to action as soon as they access the homepage, and use negative space to create contrast and highlight the important things, like your message; and last but not least, have a simple menu and a language button.

You look ready to sell internationally, and probably came up with lots of fantastic ideas while reading this article. Learn more about ConveyThis and boost your online sales!