4 Things to Keep in Mind When Designing a Website for an International Audience
When designing a website, the first thing you do is define your target audience. This audience will determine how you use elements like spacing, fonts, text contrasts and other design elements. But what happens if you have a global audience? Such a broad audience can make things complicated because you have to think carefully and differently about your website’s final design. While there are a few things you need to do to serve such a diverse audience that are obvious, some are less so. Making your website internationally friendly takes a few steps, and we are going to discuss the essential ones you need to keep in mind.
Make Translation Easy
Let us get the easiest one out of the way; you need to make it easy for people to translate your website’s content. For many websites, using a country or language widget is enough.
The widget should be placed somewhere where users can find it easily and it should be linked to a service that translates your website or that provides different textual and image content.
When translating the website, also ensure the new version contains localised information that is targeted to visitors from specific regions. If you do not, your website and its content will not make sense, even when it is in a language a visitor knows.
Use a Minimalistic Design
It is important to use a minimalistic design that resonates well with as many people as possible. Keeping things simple helps you avoid design elements that would be perceived very differently depending on the person viewing them.
Ensure your final design is not offensive, can accommodate other cultures and languages, your website can be used globally, performs well regardless of a visitor’s geographic location, and presents a simple narrative that is less likely to be interpreted the wrong way.
Think About Layout Shifts
Responsive web design has helped designers and developers avoid many of the issues you would have experienced translating websites in the past. However, it is still important to think about how one written language differs from another when they occupy the same space.
Some translations lead to longer lines, some shorter ones. Languages written right-to-left and top-to-bottom will look vastly different from English and other related languages that many people are familiar with.
Think carefully about spacing and layout and do lots of testing to find a balance for all languages your website will be translated into.
Think About The Cultural Significance of Colours
You should also do enough research on the cultural significance of your base colour in different countries. Almost every colour has a negative and positive connotation depending on the visitor’s culture.
For example, you may see white as a symbol of purity and cleanliness, but it means death in China. Ensure you are invested in the research for your website’s colour scheme instead of leaving it to your designer.
Designing a website for an international audience is more challenging than designing for a local one. There is a lot more to think about, especially the cultural meanings and significance of different design elements. In-depth research, as well as testing, can help you avoid many of these issues and you’ll end up with a website that fits a much wider audience.