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Multilingual UX Design Tips for websites

How Multilingual UX can improve your online business

In today´s online ecosystem, providing the best user experience (UX) design has become a priority as a way to improve quality and boost sales. When it comes to websites in multiple languages, this is a crucial factor in reducing bounce rate and achieving customer satisfaction.

It’s a fact that when you provide a good language experience on your website, your business lead generation, conversion rates and sales go up. A properly designed and translated form and a conversion flow are critical for ecommerce success. A properly adapted version of web page content can make the difference between generating a contact and getting in touch with a customer.

As website localization experts at Bromberg & Associates, we understand the importance of not only translating content, but creating a customized language experience for online visitors. We consider it a whole experience: not only translating words, but thinking about layouts, design and even color choices. So, in this post we are addressing the importance of language in website design and ecommerce projects.

Internationalization by design

As web design professionals, we know that achieving an optimal web interface can be difficult. It is really about flexible design: when not taking internationalization into account from the start, design may break and content may not fit properly on the website´s template, when changing it from the original language. Sometimes pieces may not align properly and become hard to see, read and interact with.

When considering UX design for many languages and customers from different countries, the best thing to do is to take this into account from the start. Also, ensuring that all  members of the team involved in the development of the project are aware of this goal is strongly advised, even if they will not be carrying out the actual internationalization process themselves.

Some people may think that website internationalization and content localization is just changing some words for others. Choosing the right words is not always that simple, and it has in many cases defined whether a message or a whole campaign succeeds or fails, as we have covered in our previous post about translation mistakes.

For a good web design that works in different languages and cultures, we have to go beyond words. For a developer, knowing that some parts of the content are not going to be displayed in some versions of the website, or knowing beforehand that some navigational flow has to be different, can save hours of coding. For a digital interface designer, it is the difference between choosing certain layouts, color palettes, and photos.

Thankfully, not all team members have to be proficient in the desired languages; they just have to know what they are looking for and the language solutions team at Bromberg will do the rest.

Wording for multilingual websites

When speaking about UX, the words that you use make a difference. The way you refer to your products and services should connect with the user and should be properly placed and highlighted. Appropriate keywords should attract the user´s action.

Many times, literal translations are misleading, resulting in loss of leads and conversions. When the user that has an intention of buying your product or services is on an order or a checkout page, words make the difference between making or losing a sale.

This is why mere translation won’t deliver proper website localization and offer multilingual user experience, especially considering that there are many words that seem to mean the same thing but actually don´t, such as “tomar” in Spanish:  it means “to take something” in Spain and also “to have a drink” in Latin America. So whether you are providing a service or a product, make sure you are using language in accordance with the cultural context of your market. The best thing to do is to count on professional localization services, so your potential customers can easily access products and services you are offering and have a great UX while at it.

Design in left-to-right and right-to-left languages

Providing a good multilingual UX design is not just a matter of translating online content. There are several other factors to consider: Is your website aimed to both users that read languages from left-to-right like (like English and Spanish) and from right-to-left (like Arabic and Hebrew)?

This is something that web interface designers, developers and editors need to plan for from the start. When implementing a multilingual website in both left-to-right and right-to-left languages, the versatility of the interface is crucial. Pieces of content, buttons, call(s) to actions and advertisements should all change positions. As readers’ eyes from different languages scan the web page in a different manner, this can make a difference in how the page is accessed.

This adds to the usual testing flow of UX design on different web browsers, devices and connections. International websites not only have to take into account different user´s technology, but their diverse browsing habits.

Color palettes, UX and localized websites

For users in the U.S., Latin America and Europe, we are accustomed to green as a good color for web buttons. It´s simple: green is the color of good things, of success and of approval. Opposite to this, red is commonly used for indicating that something went wrong or was not achieved.

But, in different cultures around the globe, colors mean different things. For instance, in Chinese culture, red represents luck and prosperity. In Chinese stock market apps, red means “up” and green means “down”.

We have already covered some other cases when colors (as well as shapes and expressions) that were suitable for a certain market were not so effective in others in this other blogpost about transcreation case studies.

Always test web user interfaces

Do you want to update your website’s layout? Do you have some design interfaces your team is working on that look good and correct in all the languages that the website is going to be available in? If so, good. But also consider testing it with an actual user that speaks the target language.

Over the past few years, user experience and testing has taken over the web and app design world. The truth is that your customers are the ones that can tell you if the interfaces are easy to understand and use.

If you are going to implement a website in Spanish, take the time to test how it works with a Spanish user. Even more, as Spanish has many variants from country to country, these changes in the cultural context should be taken into account. The insights are going to be very valuable and will help you avoid misunderstandings and conversion loss while boosting user experience, sometimes even in the same language.

There are many procedures used to conduct website and app testing with users: user interviewing and mock up testing are just two of them. Other field studies, such as focus groups and surveys, can help you optimize your website and make it work in the different languages you need.

Conclusion

UX design has become one of the big trends of the digital world. With customers buying online in different places and fashions, providing the best user experience in different languages is a smart choice. Feel free to contact our website localization specialists and start connecting with your global audience.


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