Published On :07 August,2009
One of the key features of a successful website is effective communication with its audience. Visitors should feel comfortable on the website and feel as if the website understands their needs and requirements. This is quite an easy task of your audiences share your same language and culture. But what if they don't? What if your website needs to cater to audiences from across the world... people belonging to different cultures and speaking different languages?
Websites are the calling cards for companies and businesses and therefore, it is necessary that they speak the language of the target markets. This is why localization of website content is such an important thing to do. However, designing websites for international audiences goes much beyond just localizing the content. You need to design the website in such a way that it matches their sensibilities as well.
Here are some things you need to consider right from the design and development stages of the web project.
Different Shopping Habits of People of Different Cultures
The shopping habits differ significantly across different countries and cultures. For example, people in Western countries are comfortable paying by credit cards for online purchases. However, certain countries of the world are totally oblivious of this trend. Also, Asian countries like China have a typical habit of haggling over the marked price.
It is very important to research about the various payment preferences of your audiences while building a website. Also, make sure you speak in their currencies. Use services like PayPal that provides international support for currencies like yen, euro, and the Canadian dollar.
Use Identifiable Analogies
One of the most common mistakes people make it to use analogies that people from other parts of the world cant relate to, and therefore cannot understand the context. If there is a popular joke in your country, don't expect people from other regions to understand it. They will just feel alienated from the whole content.
Consider the Cultural Significance of Colors
Colors play a crucial role in defining the aesthetic look and feel of your website. However, when you are designing for a global audience you need to be very careful about what you use and how. This is because colors has different significances in different cultures. What may be auspicious in some may just be the opposite for others.
Use Universal Symbols
Its good to use universal symbols that are considered the same everywhere. However, you should be careful about using localized symbols.
Use Appropriate Weights and Measures
When creating a international website, it is important to convert the weights and measurements to suit all your target audiences. Countries that use metric system will not be able to understand measurements in terms of pounds, feet and inches. In fact, even telephone number formats differ across regions.
Consider the Text Swelling while Localization
Text swell is the amount of space (or lack thereof) content takes up when it is translated into a different language. If you plan to create translated versions of your website, then make sure you leave adequate white space in your website layout.
Maneet Puri is a renowned IT expert with over 10 years of experience in the web design and development services. He is the director of LeXolution IT Services, a renowned web development company in India. Over the due course of his career he has completed several international projects for his clients from across the world.