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
In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our expert panel discusses some key considerations for conducting international user research. These include ensuring that the researchers have the proper training to handle international research effectively, as well as knowledge of the legal requirements in different countries. There are also the practical considerations of researchers’ being able to understand the participants’ language during research sessions and the logistics of working in another country.
It is always very important to create rapport with research participants. This is especially true for international research. Not knowing the cultural traditions of the hosting country can lead to uncomfortable moments during studies or cause researchers to miss valuable insights during analysis. Read More
Competition for the attention of customers is fiercer than ever. In such a highly competitive marketplace, a flawless user experience is not a luxury. It is central to your product’s adoption and success. We invest heavily in optimizing our products’ design and work to squeeze the last bit of efficiency out of Web forms, microcopy, and the color of that proverbial Check Out button. We explore, test, and measure every possible improvement to our user experiences.
Then, the day comes when it’s time to enter a new, non-English-speaking market. Many businesses realize too late that a naive approach to localization can instantly cancel out all your hard-won gains in user experience.
After helping dozens of companies foster a successful localization process—and reduce expenses along the way—I have collected seven common pitfalls of localization. Read More