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How to Design a Website for International Audiences

  • 27 Mar / 2023
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  • 6 Min Read
International Website Design

When businesses expand beyond their home nations, they must ensure that their websites are developed to cater to an international audience. When creating a website for an international audience, designers must take into account several elements. In this article, we will address the significance of building websites for international audiences. We will also offer advice on what considerations you need to make, based on the practises of top website design services around the world.

What is Localization?

It isn’t possible for the same website with the same text and language to become successful across a variety of international audiences. Audiences around the world have different habits and preferences, and unless the website caters to those preferences it will not work. However, this also means that a company either needs multiple websites, or multiple variants of its web pages, each built for a specific region of the globe. This is what localization is.

Localization is about matching a product with the cultural, legal, and linguistic needs of a certain region. In website design, localization is adjusting the website’s content, design, and functionality to match the needs of a specific audience. It ensures a better user experience by making the website relevant as well as approachable to the target audience. A website that is tailored to the target audience is more likely to connect with them and be perceived as reliable.

It can also boost engagement and conversions. Visitors are more likely to stay on a website longer, explore more pages, and eventually make a purchase or perform another desired action if it is tailored to the local language and culture. For example, if your website targets the Philippine market, it should be translated to include its language (Filipino), Philippine payment options, and imagery and colours that are representative of this country’s culture.

When designing a website for international audiences, localization is the first thing that needs to be kept in mind. Here are the 3 most important considerations.

1. Language Considerations

Language is a crucial factor when developing a website for an international audience. Make sure your website includes the language of your target audience. It is critical to conduct research on the most commonly spoken languages in the target location in order to identify which languages should be offered on your website.

The website should also provide a language selector that lets users effortlessly switch between languages. You can see that organisations like Airbnb or Booking.com have followed the same thing and integrated multilingual capabilities to let users access their sites in multiple languages. Airbnb’s website allows visitors to choose their favorite language, and the page instantly changes to that language. It is also essential to use proper grammar and syntax for the translated information to ensure that it is easily understandable.

It is important to note that not all languages look the same or have a similar syntax, and so they won’t necessarily fit in the same template as the English content on your website. Accordingly, some design accommodations might have to be made in order to make the new content look good. Care must be taken that such design changes don’t affect the overall structure and usability of the site.

While building a localized website, it is equally critical to consider local search engines and keywords. Some of the popular local search engines are Baidu in China, Yandex in Russia, and Naver in Korea. They use algorithms and ranking parameters that are different from those of search engine giant Google. To make sure your website ranks higher in search results across all of your targeted countries, you need to do proper keyword research for each of those places. Choose keywords that are acceptable in your selected areas only after ensuring their search volumes are good enough. And remember that localization may involve adapting your keywords even when your target country speaks the same language as you. For example, the keyword “best vacation packages” might work in the USA, but it needs to be changed to “best holiday packages” for the UK.

The hreflang tag is an essential component of international website design. It informs search engines about the language and area for which a page is designed, ensuring that readers find appropriate material. For example, a company’s website that operates in both the UK and France can use the hreflang tag to specify which pages are meant for each region.

For more about the hreflang tag and SEO for global audiences, read our blog on Multilingual and Multi-regional SEO.

2. Cultural Considerations

Differences in culture can have a huge impact on website design. As a result, before developing a website for an international audience, it is critical to conduct a cultural study. Many parts of website design are influenced by culture, including color schemes, iconography, and even website layout.

A good website design for international customers must be culturally appropriate. Certain cultures, for example, like simple designs, whereas others prefer designs with more colors and images. Some colors may have significant cultural meanings in particular countries, therefore it is vital to use colors strategically in website design. In China, for example, red is connected with good fortune and prosperity, and white is associated with sadness and death in some African cultures.

The usage of pictures is also very significant. Culturally suitable images can help a website connect with its audience and develop trust. It is critical to utilize photos that are representative of the local culture and customs. In Western countries, a beach resort website might display photographs of people in swimwear, whereas in more conservative cultures, the images might depict people in more modest apparel.

Cultural standards impact a website’s layout in addition to colors and imagery. For example, reading and writing in the Arabic language are done from right to left. However, the same is done from left to right in other languages like English. The layout of a website should be tailored to the target culture’s reading orientation as well.

3. Usability Considerations

User behaviour may differ from one country to another, and that’s why it’s important to understand how consumers engage with websites in different locations.Adjusting website design for various user behavior entails including features that appeal to the interests of the target demographic.

Ensure a positive experience with your website for all users, irrespective of their region. To ensure fast and efficient loading of your website, it is important to have international servers (either physical web servers in multiple locations or cloud solutions) and a reliable Content Delivery Network (CDN).. If your website is hosted on a server in one region, users in other regions may experience delayed load times. If your website’s hosting server is in a particular region, users in other regions are likely to experience loading delays, thereby negatively impacting the user experience. Poor user experience can have a negative impact on your site’s engagement and conversion rates.

As a result, it is critical to have servers in several zones to reduce latency and ensure that your website’s speed is not jeopardized. A CDN can also aid in the distribution of material across different servers and locations, allowing users to access your website’s information more quickly and efficiently.

In addition to having international servers and a competent CDN, it is critical to ensure that the design and content of your website are optimized for quick loading times. This includes compressing graphics, minification of code, and decreasing the number of server queries.

Apple’s website is an excellent example of an effective website design for usability. It comes with a clean, minimalistic design and lets users from anywhere navigate and find the information or products they are looking for.

Conclusion

Creating a website for an international audience necessitates taking into account a number of elements. Businesses can construct websites that effectively engage and connect with audiences around the world by modifying the website’s content and design to fit the demands of users in the exact targeted locations. Localization contributes to a better user experience, more engagement and conversions, and, eventually, increased business success.

Shrutarshi Das

Shrutarshi Das

Shrutarshi Das is a purveyor of all things digital, with a particular interest in new technological innovations, photography, and gaming.

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