When it comes to catering to global audiences, there are many ways in which you will need to adapt your brand, all the way from marketing messages through to customer service, in order to cater to a wide range of linguistic and cultural preferences.
We live in an age where digital experiences are critical to business operations, and as expectations surrounding UX and customer service keeps increasing, there’s a growing need for global brands to tailor their offerings to drive revenue and engagement in every territory they operate in.
What is UX Localization?
Because no two cultures experience UX in the exact same way, it is mission-critical not only to localize for the language but for culture as well. In essence, UX localization is about adapting your offerings with international UX in mind. It goes beyond merely replacing your current text strings with words in other languages. Localization means:
- Adapting your original content to the cultural preferences of the target market rather than using word-for-word translation
- Proper use of numerical values and currencies
- An adaptation of the User Interface to cater to the varying space requirements of each language
- Adapting your UX according to the local expectations formed by thought processes, regional norms, and language.
It is during the last point that you’ll localize your UX to develop empathy with your users, detailing the experience for native speakers so they have a clear understanding and a means to resonate with your brand.
The user experience encompasses dislikes, likes, feelings, and impressions that users have when they interact with your brand. But the UI and usability of your website are just as important since these metrics directly affect website functionality, efficiency, and usability. UX effectively groups UI and usability before adding more aspects like the correct use of colors, backgrounds, directional indications, and symbols, to name but a few.
The Importance of International UX Design to Accommodate Cultural Differences
When you internationalize the user experience (also referred to as cross-cultural design), you’re essentially paving the way for your website to meet the needs and expectations of global users.
Other cultures don’t only speak languages aside from English; they also tie different meanings to design aspects such as visuals, symbols, and colors, which all affect the UX. When you localize your UX, you’re ensuring that you offer your users an experience that feels like it was created with their linguistic and cultural needs in mind.
Higher Engagement Rates Across Different Languages
When you enhance your website and its elements with professional localization services, you can give all your target markets a localized experience. The localization process is not a once-and-done project, and it might seem tedious, but it is a surefire way to ensure your brand message always resonates better with regional audiences in high-context cultures. Simple actions, such as using local landmarks instead of international sites, add a local feel to any specific version of your multilingual website and can generate a positive response from the target market since you’re displaying sensitivity to cultural nuances.
More Organic Traffic and Increased SEO Results
Although content marketing has always been important, brands can further boost their organic traffic and SEO results by localizing the UX. Not only will your website rank for the related keywords in the original language, but it’ll also rank for those keywords in foreign languages. Brands that use multipurpose content can stand to gain more exposure to the search engines because they rank for all their target languages. And when you promote your offerings in multiple languages, you gain access to a broader audience. All you need to do is a localization strategy to cater to foreign audiences using your preexisting content.
Increased Conversion Rates across Multiple Languages
The grand aim of localization is an increased ROI and higher conversion rates from your target audience. By adapting your site and UX according to the location and language preferences of your audience, you’re catering to about 73% of consumers that get frustrated when website content isn’t personalized. Localizing the UX design allows UX designers to include features that speak specifically to specific customers from different cultural groups. Small changes during the UX development stage of your website might seem insignificant, but they can make a world of difference in your ROI and user conversion figures.
Handy Tips to Keep in Mind for UX Design Localization
In this next section, we discuss some of the best ways to ensure you’re building a website with impeccable UX.
Use Global Templates to Support Brand Consistency
Have you ever browsed an international website and landed on a foreign version of that site? That happens to about a third of consumers, and it’s something brands don’t always have control over. What they can control, however, is brand reputation, and it’s simple as using a global template for their multilingual site. Global templates make it easier for regional teams to run unique campaigns that suit the preferences specific to a particular region and cultural group. It also simplifies multisite management and can help reduce development costs.
Develop Global Gateways that Cater to User Preferences and Various Languages
The design of your UI’s global gateway is the navigational system responsible for ensuring users land on a localized version of your website, and it’s critical in helping you connect with a foreign audience. Your gateway must be easy to find and viewable in a language that your international users understand.
Test with Your Target Audience
You’ll need to evaluate the usability of your website before launching it, and this can seem like a science unto itself. The usability testing of a multilingual website requires testing in each language you target, and everything, from the color schemes to the fonts you’re using, needs to be scrutinized for suitability. Not only do you need to run tests for each language you cater to, but you also need to test pivot points, which is where users decide what language they want to browse your website in.
Call in Professional Help
Do you have the in-house skills to enhance global UX and brand engagement with interpreting and other linguistic services? How do you plan on implementing your translated content? Do you have a plan for your font sizes and layouts for non-Latin languages and bi-directional conversions? Other elements to consider include HTML/XML, Unicode, redirections, and hreflang tags.
These terms might all sound a bit complicated, but it’s the kind of stuff that localization experts eat for breakfast. Software localization experts have the experience required to build multilingual UX frameworks, and they understand the intricacies of bridging language barriers during the design process. Their broad technical know-how in website translation and app localization further reiterates the importance of never braving these waters without the assistance of industry professionals.
If you are just starting to expand into the global market and want to build your way up, you might lack the resources to create a localized version of your website for every region you’d like to focus on. If this is your scenario, you can start with minimal international versions and apply the following techniques:
- Provide specific language versions that cover as many of your international audiences as possible.
- Cut down culturally specific elements to avoid possible confusion and frustration. Follow universal UX conventions.
- Analyze the most valuable market and consider a localized design for that segment first.
If you’re designing the UX for a large target audience with a specific cultural background, you can try the following techniques:
- Understand the general cultural differences. Identify the ones most relevant to your products. Based on these general differences, write down questions and assumptions to examine in subsequent research activities.
- Identify how cultural differences impact users’ interactions with your products in context.
- Identify components that would benefit most from localization and prioritize them for localization.
The user experience can make or break your brand regarding growing global audiences. Even the flashiest websites won’t make it if their users find them hard to navigate, so it is essential to integrate localization right from the start.
UX development localization services are imperative when it comes to driving global brand engagement among audiences with different cultural backgrounds, and incorporating it right from the outset is the easiest way to adapt and localize the experience for even more users in the future.
A website lies at the heart of a brand’s expansion plan and can act as a magnet for potential customers across different cultures, but a localized UX design is the only option to consider for the sake of increasing conversion rates on a global scale.
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