Applying UX Principles to Designing Multilingual Websites
Enhancing User Experience in Multilingual Website Design
As businesses and products expand into international markets at an increasingly rapid pace, digital presence becomes crucial. To meet the needs and preferences of a global user base, your company’s website must reflect its international audience.
User expectations are rising, and there are numerous ways they can quickly become frustrated and disengaged with a website. This is why the demand for user experience (UX) design services has surged in the B2B world. These services offer professional assistance in identifying and resolving UX issues on websites.
One of the most common and easily avoidable UX problems on websites targeting an international audience is the language barrier. When users land on a site, they expect to find content in their own language. If they discover that the site lacks language options, they are likely to leave.
However, language is just the beginning. To effectively cater to users from different national backgrounds, it is essential to adhere to UX principles.
Designing a Universal Navigation System
To address the language challenge, users should be able to easily find the means to switch to their preferred language on the website. This vital element is known as the global gateway. As UX designers, we must assume that users are not familiar with the initial language and ensure they can switch to their desired language without relying on written commands.
Placing the language switcher at the top of the page or in the footer is considered best practice since users frequently look for information, capabilities, and menu items in these areas. For instance, Airbnb’s website features a language dropdown menu in the footer, clearly indicating language options without explicit labels. This intuitive design helps users overcome the language barrier effortlessly.
If your website lacks language-switching functionality, the first step is to implement this capability. Third-party apps or integrations like ConveyThis can be utilized for different CMS platforms, simplifying the process.
Amplifying Global Messaging
In addition to providing language accessibility, ensuring consistency across multilingual versions of your website is crucial. Every user, regardless of the site’s language, should experience a smooth and intuitive user journey. Hiring a UX design agency is often the most effective way to establish consistent and seamless UX.
Airbnb serves as a prime example of maintaining brand consistency regardless of the site’s language. Their website design, colors, typography, and layout remain consistent across English and Turkish versions. Both English and Turkish-speaking users enjoy the same visually appealing and cohesive experience.
It’s important to note that while the design elements remain the same, images with embedded English text can be confusing for non-English speakers. Adapting imagery and text in advertisements to reflect the local context, as Airbnb could do for their Turkish users, further enhances the localized experience.
Utilizing Global Templates with Localization Opportunities
Once a consistent brand identity is established, incorporating localization elements into your website can significantly enhance user engagement. By showcasing region/language-specific imagery and offers, you demonstrate your commitment to users’ corners of the world. This personalization fosters a sense of connection and increases the likelihood of user engagement.
Returning to the Airbnb example, localizing the imagery and text in advertisements on the front page for Turkish users would create a stronger regional appeal and a more tailored experience.
Addressing Web Font Compatibility
Designers must consider the varying lengths of words in different languages to maintain optimal spacing on web pages. For instance, the phrase “Add to Cart” in English consists of eleven characters, while its Dutch translation, “Aan winkelwagen toevoegen,” comprises twenty-five characters, taking up considerably more space. Consistency in font sizes and styles across pages is crucial. Previewing all pages and selecting fonts that are compatible with the alphabets/scripts used in the target languages ensures a visually pleasing design.
Designing a multilingual website is a complex undertaking. Language affects not only the text but also all elements that interact with it, including visuals and layout.
The first step toward creating a successful multilingual website is employing a service like ConveyThis. Next, partnering with a UX design company ensures visually appealing and user-friendly pages. Consider engaging professional translators to ensure the accuracy and fluency of multilingual content—a service ConveyThis can assist with.
By embracing UX principles, businesses can create engaging and effective global online presences, catering to the diverse needs of their international users.
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