The Internet provides businesses the opportunity to reach audiences from the other side of the world. If you’re one of these businesses looking to target audiences, you have to reflect that in your web design. You’ll have to go into your web hosting panel and swap out your templates, add small accents, use different colors and make other changes. Here are a few important things that you should do to create a multi cultural design.
Start with the Right Colors
Colors have different meanings in different countries. Green is a neutral and friendly color in the United States but is shown to be seen less favorably in France and China. The best colors to go with are blue, black and white. With that said, it’s not logical to take studies done on color too logically. Sometimes, you’ll have to use colors that are often associated with negative meanings to design around your brand. The only way to know if it has a huge negative impact on the performance of your site is to test it against other colors.
Use Photos Featuring People from the Respective Country
One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make when going global is using imagery that reflects the western countries. If you want to let your website to be targeting people from a specific country, use photographs that include people from the country. This makes the users of the country feel like your website, products and services are designed for them. Using imagery from your country may make audiences from other countries view your website as too foreign which will disqualify them as potential customers.
Make Sure You’re Culturally Sensitive
Cultural awareness should be applied in every facet of your communication: on your website, labeling, advertising, marketing. Putting in the effort to understand the intricacies and nuances of a culture will allow you to connect with foreign audiences and avoid backlashes. There have been many examples of corporations using offensive or culturally insensitive imagery and messages in their marketing. These snafus have resulted in damaged reputations, lost profits and even bans on their businesses.
Use Accurate Translation Services
If you’re going to create a website for foreign audiences, you need to make sure you use high quality translation services. Don’t rely on software tools or the search engines to translating for you. Many of these tools are very inaccurate. Even if the literal translation is correct, the grammar is often wrong and comes off as confusing to foreign audiences. The best way to get your content and message translated is to use an experienced translator. You also want to make sure to study foreign sites to figure out the font and formatting that’s used. Translators are not designers and won’t know how to design for readability and engagement.
Use the Appropriate Icons and Imagery
One of the easiest ways to start designing a multi cultural website is to use the right icons and imagery. The most obvious icon that you can use is the country’s flag. You can use that to link to content in the country’s specific language. You should also take a look at other sites to see what kinds of icons and accents they’re using to communicate to local users. Another way to reflect your foreign presence is to use photos of the country’s monuments in your imagery. Foreign readers will immediately notice the imagery and connect with it.
Focus on Inclusion
If you’re trying to go broad and appeal on an international level, you wan to use photos that reflect that. Include people of all different backgrounds, races, ethnicities and age groups to show that your website is for all people. If you plan on using animated images instead of photos, make sure that the animated depictions of people from other backgrounds are not offensive. This again ties back to cultural sensitivity. You have to put in the time to figure out what’s appropriate and what’s not.
Study the Foreign Market Sector
Sometimes, you have to take it further than going into your web hosting panel and switching to a neutral template. Rather than having a general idea of how you should design your site for foreign or multi cultural audiences, you should study the foreign market sectors. For example, if you’re in the fitness sector, study how other foreign fitness sites are designing their sites. You’ll start to notice design trends and get an idea of what works with the specific audience in this market sector.
Those are just some general tips for taking your business global. You have to think about whether to change your design towards a specific country or to reflect a multi cultural stance for an international presence. Creating a design that appeals to different audiences often demands that you create different segments for each language and country. For this reason, you’ll find that creating a great multi cultural or international site is a challenging project.