Preparing a Global Design: Internationalization (i18n) Guide

12 mins read

Prepare design for internationalization

Design for internationalization is essential for any business wanting to reach a global market. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of design for internationalization and how to best prepare the design for internationalization to make your product or service attractive to people worldwide.

What Is Internationalization

Internationalization is the process of designing for localization, or getting a design ready for internationalization, so that a product or service can be easily changed to fit different cultures, languages, and regions around the world. In other words, internationalization is about making sure your product or service can be used by people in different countries and cultures.

This process involves things like translating the language, designing the user interface, taking cultural differences into account, and following local rules. It is important to remember that internationalization doesn’t just mean translating words; it also means understanding cultural nuances and making sure the product or service will work in any given market. Read more about internationalization and localization in our previous article.

Why Internationalization Is Important

Internationalization helps make products and services accessible to people around the world. Without it, companies may miss out on potential customers that may otherwise be interested in their product or service. Internationalizing a product or service can also help a business better understand and relate to its international customers.

Overall, internationalization is important for businesses that want to grow and reach new customers all over the world. By understanding the importance of internationalization, companies can be better prepared to make their products and services available to people around the world.

Why Prepare Design for Internationalization

Designing for localization means preparing designs to be ready for global use, meaning they can be easily localized for different languages, cultures, and regions. By getting your design ready for internationalization, you can make sure that as many people as possible can use your product or service. This could lead to greater customer satisfaction and more opportunities to sell your product or service in different countries. It could also help lower the cost of putting a product on the market in a new market by reducing the amount of translation and localization work that needs to be done.

How to Prepare Design for Internationalization

Preparing design for internationalization requires a lot of thought and planning. It’s important to have a thorough understanding of the market you’re targeting. When designing for your target audience, you should think about their culture, language, and location.

Know Your Audience

Before you begin designing for localization, it is important to consider who your target audience is. Internationalization means understanding the cultural differences of the people you are designing for, as well as any language barriers that may exist.

It is important to research and understand the culture, language, and customs of the people who will be using your product, so you can create something that is both accessible and meaningful to them. You also need to know about international laws and rules that could affect your design.

Preparing for internationalization is a complex process, but one that is essential if you want to create a product that appeals to a global market. By taking the time to think about your target audience and what they need, you can make sure that your design works and meets their needs. Also, if you learn about the language and cultural norms of other countries and understand them, you can make designs that take all of these things into account while still looking nice.

Keep It Simple

When designing for localization, it’s important to keep things as simple as possible. The goal is to make the text and images available to everyone, no matter what language they speak or what culture they come from. To get your design ready for internationalization, start by keeping your message simple and avoiding any cultural references that could be misunderstood.

This means making sure there are enough resources to make graphics, translate text into local languages, and make graphics for different regions. Additionaly, you should be able to translate text into local languages and make graphics for each region. Also, having a team of experienced translators who know the customs of the area can help make sure the translation is correct.

Consider Cultural Differences

It is important to consider cultural differences when you prepare your design for a global audience. This means taking into account the language, customs, beliefs, and norms of different countries. You should also being aware of local legal requirements. Preparing designs for internationalization requires more than simply translating content. It requires understanding cultural differences and their impact on the design.

Internationalization’s meaning has evolved over time. Today, it is more than just making sure content can be translated. It’s also about making a design that works well in different countries and cultures and is easy to change. This means making graphics, fonts, colors, images, and other design elements that everyone can see and understand.

Use Common Symbols

Symbols can be a powerful way to get a message across to people worldwide. Symbols help to quickly and easily communicate a concept without relying on text. A symbol that is universally recognizable may be able to do this more successfully than words alone. Symbols can also be used to give an idea of a visual identity that helps to show what it is meant to mean.

For example, a lot of people know that the recycling symbol is a reminder to recycle and be good to the environment. Using a common symbol like this in design can save time and effort that would otherwise have been spent creating a custom icon or image. It also helps to give your international design appeal, as it is likely to be familiar to people around the world.

When designing for internationalization, it’s important to think about common symbols that people from different cultures understand and accept. These symbols can help people understand what your design means, even if they don’t speak the same language.

Localize your product with Crowdin

Know What Colors Mean in Different Cultures

For example, in the West, the color red means “beware” and “danger,” but in some Asian cultures, like China and Japan, it means “luck” and “happiness.”

Plan for Text Growth

When an English text is translated into another language, the translated text can be as much as three times longer. Leave empty space around UI elements that are close together, like buttons and tabs.

Whenever possible, make UI components expandable. Do not give your UI component a fixed width or height unless you have a good reason.

Wrapping is a good way to handle longer pieces of text. Since translated text will take up more lines, you should be aware of the possibility of vertical expansion.

With hover text, truncation can be a good middle ground. Be aware that doing this could make the UI less useful.

Make the label text and inline forms independent of each other. Using input fields or dropdown lists in the middle of a sentence is another common UI pattern that can cause problems with localization. This problem happens because most languages don’t put words in the same order as English. Because of this, the inline forms need to be moved so that the translated text has the correct sentence structure. Read 5 best practices for UI localization.

Test with a Global Audience

It is important to test designs with people from all over the world if you want to make a good design that can be used everywhere. Before launching any product or service in a new region, it is important to test the product with people from the target country or region. This helps find problems that might come up because of differences in culture or language and hurt the user’s experience. Testing with people from all over the world can also give useful feedback on how to use the design most effectively. This could include suggestions on colors, graphics, typography, and overall usability.

Testing also helps not only with designing for localization but also with figuring out how to market the product or service in other countries. A successful product will appeal to different markets, and by testing with a global audience, you can get a better sense of what works and what doesn’t. As a result, you can also make sure that all the design’s parts, like images, text, and layout, work well in different cultures.

Offer Different Designs for Different Countries with Crowdin

Some sites can offer different options—not just texts but also designs (layouts) on the same page—for different visitors (countries). If you have a CSS file for a page you want to localize and need to change the styles for, say, Chinese, you can add that CSS file to Crowdin, a localization management platform, as an asset and add styles for Chinese pages to it. It is not necessary to completely create a CSS file for the Chinese version of the page as a copy of the original one; you can only add new styles to it, which (this is how CSS works) will override the source ones.

Think Internationally: Prepare Design for Multilingual Audience

When designing for internationalization, it is important to keep in mind the features of cultures between people from different countries. You need to make sure that your design can be understood by people from all over the world. You can do this by keeping it simple and using symbols that everyone knows.

It is also important to test your design with a global audience to make sure it is effective and localized for each market. By knowing what internationalization is and how important it is to design for localization, you can make a good design that works for people all over the world.

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Julia Herasymchuk

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