Creating an end-to-end global experience that all customers can enjoy, regardless of language or locale, is a difficult undertaking. Doing so starts with localization - after all, 56% of customers say having product info in their native language is more important than the price.
However, before you build a new product, you can set yourself up for success by developing and designing it to be localization-friendly. In essence, making it localization-friendly involves anticipating localization barriers and removing them before you even get started.
Let’s help you prepare your product for global expansion by considering these key areas during the development phase.
The goal here is to create an internationalized source code that can work for any and all product versions. Typically, this is accomplished by separating localizable elements in the source code, so that you can load different types of content.
In order to make this happen, your IT team should:
- Choose tools (such as CMS and responsive design) that allow for flexible functionality and design needs.
- Don’t hard-code text or fix element height and width. Instead, you’ll want to use containers so that they adjust with translated text.
- Don’t depend on a specific language encoding or your platform won’t be language-ready. Opt for Unicode to cover different alphabets, bidirectional text and non-Latin typographic features.
- Make use of libraries to load regional formatting, including calendar, date, time, currency numbers, name, phone numbers, address, etc.
For design, you’ll want to keep other languages in mind as you define your brand look. Some basics to remember include:
- Opt for flexible design that uses plenty of blank space. This gives you some buffer for differences in language.
- Prepare for text expansion of up to 35% and select global fonts that are available in all languages.
- Use universal symbols, icons, buttons and forms. You can check the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) to verify cross-cultural imagery.
- Consider neutral images and colors, as every culture puts different meaning on visuals. At the least, research images and colors for each target locale.
Content is often the main focus of product localization. Here you’ll need to consider all textual elements for your product. Guide your creators to make localization-friendly content in these ways:
- Perfect the original language content first. It’s way more work to edit translations downstream.
- Keep headlines and CTAs simple. Avoid complicated phrasing or calls-to-action. This will save you space and create a more uniform brand voice.
- Identify international SEO before you get started. By listing your keywords and asking translators to recreate them in every language, you can jumpstart your content relevance.
- Prepare a content toolkit for translators that includes a style guide, glossary, etc. Your linguists will have an easier time following your brand needs as you expand to new locales.
Finally, you should also take quality control into account when making your product localization-friendly. Do yourself a favor and:
- Research market conditions and user values before product launch. You’ll be able to mold the new version according to the key insights you get.
- Understand all local regulations and requirements. This is especially true for data protection and other digital areas that may require extra attention.
- Test often for best local user experience and track loc metrics. Localization is hardly a one-time job. Keep improving customer experience through regular testing.
Before you even get started, you can prep your product team with these localization-friendly guidelines. Doing so will save you time and resources down the road, and boost your chances for a successful product launch in a new locale.
Bottom line: Globalization is changing how we do business and product development should be a key part of every company’s localization strategy.
People ≠ dictionaries.
Nowadays, users want to interact with online brands in their native language. This makes a lot of sense. Having multilingual content shows that the company cares and ensures a seamless user experience, especially for purchases.