Users want to work in familiar languages and environments, so companies that build and sell enterprise products to customers from different cultures and in different locales must support these expectations. Doing so requires localization—adapting documents or products to ensure they’re culturally appropriate. However, product teams often overlook this requirement or put off localization until late in the development cycle.
Even when localization is a formal requirement, a product team that is battling a tight deadline or budget constraints may choose to skip localization or defer it until a later release. Their localization effort languishes in the team’s growing pile of UX debt, remaining unaddressed until a senior executive receives an angry phone call from a customer, complaining about the product’s subpar experience in their native language or environment.
How can you, as a UX professional, support localization, help reduce the odds that your product might alienate customers, and avoid contributing to your team’s UX debt? In this column, I’ll provide a localization expert’s perspective on this topic, then describe some practical ways in which you can design user interfaces to better support localization. Read More
The definition of design is continually changing and evolving—at least in the public’s perception. But design will forever remain a problem-solving process. As a design community, we have always designed for a global audience, for which English is their first language. But, today, we must think about designing for the next billion people. As we progressively focus more and more on inclusive design and diverse cultures, we must accept that 98% of the population are not native English speakers. Designing for this broader audience has become an imperative.
For designers, communication is a key facet of everything we create. The entire design process is predicated on systems requiring clear communication between clients, stakeholders, teams, and users. The language barrier seems bigger than ever when we’re designing for an audience with whom we don’t share a common language. In this column, I’ll discuss some common challenges that you’ll confront when designing for an audience of users who aren’t proficient in English. I’ll also share my tried-and-tested strategies for solving this problem. Read More
There is a lot more to offering your Web site, mobile app, or other digital product in other markets than automatically translating or hiring a service to translate your content into another language. In Part 1 of this two-part series, I provided an overview of how to regionalize your products—approaching regionalization from a procedural and technical point of view—and detailed the approach you should take, as follows:
Do more than just translate. Rewrite the content in the target language, considering the context of use. Avoid slang, jargon, colloquialisms, metaphors, and jokes.
Use people, not just tools or services. Hire a content manager or content designer to create content-management documents. Work with your translation service, and engage locals who are sufficiently familiar with your product to at least review it. Read More