What a UI/UX designer knows (that you don't) about successful website localization

By Acclaro
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What a UI/UX designer knows (that you don't) about successful website localization

Engaging a qualified UI/UX designer at the start of a website localization project, a key service provided by a translation agency, will ensure a positive end-user experience while saving time and money.

The devil is in the details. That’s why it’s critical to involve a user interface/user experience (UI/UX) consultant at the start of any localization program. You need someone who is willing to dig in, ask questions, do research and become an expert on your initiative so they can provide you with a comprehensive, informed website localization program. Not only will that keep you on time and on budget, it could save your sanity, too.

“Designing a product, app or website with localization in mind from the start may avoid costly retooling later on,” said Aart Balk, senior UI/UX designer at Acclaro. “Products that have been created for one language only need to be analyzed to see if they can support localization efforts and often undergo time-consuming, after-the-fact changes in code, technology framework and design to support localization.”

It starts with a plan

Before beginning any localization, it’s important to know why you want to localize the site, which markets you’ll be targeting, what measurable goals you have, and how much time and budget you can commit. A UI/UX designer will keep those facts in mind as they review local market research on competitors, which will inform strategy and the overall design of local versions of a product.

“Multilingual products, apps and websites serve a multitude of target audiences that might each have their own, sometimes very specific requirements,” Balk said. “A well-designed and -built product has the right kind of flexibility to allow for adaptations.”

Once the big-picture questions have been addressed, a UI/UX designer will start to drill down through the process using their knowledge of and experience with the design requirements for multilingual products, apps and websites.

Designing the right experience

Your designer will guide you as you determine which languages to use, because it’s important to know what needs to be supported from the outset. For example, a UI/UX designer will advise on a fitting global navigation experience by figuring out what kind of “language switch” will be most suitable for the end user, whether it’s a language/local dropdown menu or a product that automatically detects the user’s preferred language.

Additionally, UI/UX experts will look at complexities around targeted languages, which require careful planning to allow for text expansion or contraction, fonts and character usage. They’ll also address local use of dates, currency, units of measurement, addresses and telephone formats.

As your translation agency’s UI/UX designer leads you through product development,  they’ll also keep legal and cultural considerations in mind, like GDPR compliance or market-specific content restrictions.

And while many people think of translation as being specific to language, a UI/UX designer knows there’s much more to it than that. For instance, do you know whether or not your product’s icons, colors and imagery are adapted for local preferences? Balk does, and he’s seen many instances where products neglected these details. Instead of considering what’s culturally appropriate, products have launched using colors with significant meaning for certain target languages that don’t align with the intended messaging or imagery, and graphical elements that aren’t contextually relevant for local markets.

“Some of these elements may seem small and not that important, but your goal should be to deliver a user experience that is effortless and relevant to the end user,” said Balk. “Establishing a trusting and respectful relationship between your brand, product and end user is necessary for success.”

Partner with Acclaro for a successful website localization strategy

Acclaro’s translation services extend to every aspect of localization initiatives, because we understand the importance of localization as part of a comprehensive global growth strategy. Creating a successful localized product requires careful planning and cooperation between a multitude of teams that all have the interest of the local end user in mind.

“A successful partnership has the highest probability of leading to the desired end result: A localized product, app or website that delivers on its intended business goals while providing an experience that feels truly natural and relevant to the local end user,” Balk said. “When localization is an afterthought, chances are that it will become a stressful, frustrating and often costly operation for all involved.”

Are you planning to localize your web content? Work with Acclaro for websites that speak to your target audience and meet your business goals. Contact us today for a consultation

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