Global Expansion Requires Mastery of Multilingual Website Design
How do you want your new international audiences to see your website? With top-quality multilingual website design, you can make it appear as if your organization operates within your global users’ locales. If you phone it in, you will alienate them. Follow these rules, and you are sure to succeed.
1. Keep the User in Mind when Designing Global Gateways
Users are directed to specific localized versions of a website by a navigational system known as a global gateway. This tool is typically found at the top or the bottom of a multilingual site. Give extra attention to the design of your global gateways as you create your global templates.
The placement and design of the global gateway are crucial. Users might give up on your site and go elsewhere if it is hard to find or is only viewable in a source language they do not understand. No matter what your users speak, the process of searching for and finding the gateway should be easy.
Global gateways come in a few popular designs. The drop-down box is the most common. With this option, users are given a scrolling list from which they can select their locale. Expert John Yunker wrote a whole book about global gateway design.
Using country flags to represent languages is a problem you see with many global gateways. What if multiple countries share a dialect? Or, what if a country has several dialects? Do not use flags unless you are representing a certain country.
2. Express Your Brand Consistently across All Sites with Global Templates
You are unable to control which site an international user chooses to access, though you can provide some guidance with your multilingual website design. Dutch users might visit your German site. Or, you might have French visitors unintentionally landing on your U.K. website.
Maintaining a consistent global brand image is important. Therefore, it is clear that each of your websites must provide a regional representation of your brand. On the other hand, you want your localized sites to fit the tastes and meet the needs of local audiences.
To balance these focuses, you should use a global template whenever possible for your multilingual websites. Most of the top multilingual sites utilize global layout and design templates which can be optimized for mobile devices and desktops.
Global templates manage text expansion, increase efficiencies, and assist your localization team in maintaining control over branding elements, user interfaces (UIs), and other visual presentations.
3. Ensure Top-Notch Shipping and Purchasing Experiences by Internationalizing
There are several extra steps you need to be aware of when it comes to e-commerce sites. You will have to adjust your site for different shipping address formats and currencies once you understand the local laws concerning online shipments and purchases.
As you internationalize your site to accommodate different variables, these functionalities should be addressed early in the development process. You might also be able to get help with this process from your e-commerce provider.
Let’s say you wanted to expand throughout Europe. Not every country uses the euro. For instance, Poland uses the zloty, the Czech Republic uses the koruna, and the U.K. uses the pound.
According to Common Sense Advisory, visitors are far more likely to make a purchase when they see prices in their own currency. And, once they do buy, they will need to enter their shipping info. When you address the many different formats countries use, you will be ready to master a new market.
4. Avoid Embedded Text when Designing Localization-Ready Graphics
Avoid embedded text in design files when creating graphics. By preventing easy access to text for translation, it complicates the localization process. It may add the step of having to rebuild graphic files. If you can maintain your control and quality, recommend that developers overlay text onto graphics.
When your graphic designers create separate text layers in their Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop source files (avoid PDFs), you will save more time and money.
Since search engine web crawlers are unable to read text that is embedded in graphics, you will take advantage of an important search engine optimization best practice when you separate your words and images.
It is also worth noting that because of their complex interplay of text and images, infographics are notoriously tough to translate across multilingual sites, even if they are great for sharing and garnering attention on social media.
5. Have the Experts Review Your UIs
Other Western languages can expand by 40 percent or more when translated from English. This makes localization strategy and planning important, particularly when localizing website navigation menus, call-to-action buttons, web app interfaces, and other elements.
One of the multilingual websites best practices is to have an LSP, who specializes in localization, review and edit your UI to ensure you do not experience text expansion problems.
Accelingo can take the headache out of multilingual website design. Rely on our agile translation services to make globalization seamless.