Localization-friendly web design

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When it comes to designing your website and you already know that you would like to market to non-English speakers, it is important to keep localization in mind in the web design stage. As a translation company, we certainly have our own ideas about this. However, we thought we’d get a perspective from someone who is not primarily involved with website localization. Since Powderkeg web design created our own website and is a trusted, Madison-based partner, we asked them for their take on the subject.

Geo: What skills should you look for in a web designer?

Powderkeg: A web designer/developer should actively listen to your organization’s needs (including those of your target audience) and use that insight in conjunction with industry best practices to create an intuitive and user-friendly online experience that accurately represents your brand, offerings, and values. Some “musts” when it comes to a new website include:

  • Responsive design
  • SEO best practices
  • A content management system (CMS)
  • Quality assurance process (testing)
  • Assistance launching the new site

Geo: What role does the web designer play in the localization process?

Powderkeg: How the website is built will impact the localization process. If the website does not integrate with a content management system, then localizing content will be near to impossible without the help from a developer (hardcoding content). Websites that do utilize a content management system will likely need a bit of prep work from your web developer to include a translation option as well as customization of how the translation option(s) will display to users on the frontend. In this case, your team will be able to create/access/edit the localized content.

Geo: Is it useful for web designers to have localization partners?

Powderkeg: While having the option to include translated content on your website is an important part of the equation, actually creating the content is its own process. Having a connection with localization partners will ensure the project is completed accurately and efficiently. This is especially important for organizations that may not have the internal resources available to take on a project involving localized content!

Geo: What is your favorite CMS for web localization purposes?

Powderkeg: Our team builds websites exclusively on WordPress as it has proved to be the most intuitive for our clients as well as the most flexible – which is important with all of our websites being custom designed for each client’s specific needs. Of course, localization is one of those needs and we have found that there are many WordPress-specific tools out there that make the localization process straightforward, such as WPML.

Geo: From your perspective, what are the biggest benefits to localizing content?

Powderkeg: On the user experience side of a website, brand perception would definitely benefit from localizing your content. Your website visitors will have more trust and respect in your brand if you’re able to provide content to them in their native language. Your conversion rate is also more likely to increase when users can clearly understand the content you’re presenting. In terms of search engine optimization, you’ll definitely receive a boost there as well. Google and other search engines try to provide localized results for search users.

The web designer lays the foundation for a successful website localization process. Typically, the web designer is also involved in any localization project or may even manage the whole thing for you. Therefore, it is crucial to select someone who has the knowledge and skill to do so. As we have worked with Powderkeg for many years, we encourage you to contact them to discuss localization-friendly web design.

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