in Localization Tips, Technical Writing

Creating a Good UI for International Markets

When designing a user interface, or UI, many components must be considered. Creating a UI that is clear, consistent, responsive, and attractive can be the difference between a successful product launch, and watching your efforts go to waste. When launching a product or service into the global marketplace, there are many factors which should be taken into account before unveiling your digital platform to the public.

Focus on clarity.

A UI allows users to digitally interact with your platform in a seamless, integrated manner. That is, they put their goal into your app, your website, and ultimately, your brand. If people cannot figure out the basics of your app or website, they will quickly become frustrated. Users should be able to accomplish their goals without any roadblocks in the way. By focusing on clarity and usability when developing your user interface, you will ensure that users can interact with your system to easily accomplish whatever tasks they need to with your technology.

In addition to being clear, your UI should also be concise. Especially when translating or localizing your UI, it is important to say things in the most direct way possible. This helps to avoid potential problems with design. Many companies forget to take the target language into consideration when laying out user interface concepts. This can lead to an overcrowded, clunky UI, where words or icons are half displayed, or worse, completely gone. In order to avoid altering the UI framework for every market, consider developing concise, clear language for the interface instead.

Consistency is key.

While sometimes you may need to adapt your UI due to context, a best practice towards UI design is maintaining consistency across the interface. Refining both interactive and visual consistency frameworks help users develop patterns of use. They learn what key elements and buttons look like and seek them in order to accomplish their goals. If your interface is consistent, regardless of the context, users will know how to operate new features because they already know and recognize your software.

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Consistency also allows your users to build a familiarity with your software. Designers often aim to create a user interface that is intuitive, but while intuition may play a small role in how people interact with your app or website, more than likely it is developing familiarity that allows users to easily utilize each function.

To achieve a consistent user interface when localizing your UI, utilize translation memory software (TMS), a Translation Memory (TM), and a glossary. These tools will allow your linguist to ensure that they are using the same terminology throughout your UI, and therefore throughout your new products or features.

Remember to be responsive.

It’s incredibly important that your app or website can not only get your users from point A to point B, but that users can complete all tasks without losing their focus or interest. Developing a UI that is responsive is an easy way to maintain a user’s focus, and responsiveness goes beyond just interface speed. Creating an interface that loads pages quickly will always improve user experience. Furthermore, your UI should provide some feedback in instances when the content cannot load as quickly as the interface. For example, your users should see some sort of interaction with the user interface which demonstrates that they have completed a task successfully – such as clicking a button. If the software is loading slowly, show them the loading progress to keep users engaged and aware of its progress.

Consider the appearance.

An attractive user interface increases your app or website’s overall user experience. When your software is fun, or nice to use, it makes users more likely to open and use it again and again. When developing your UI, keep in mind your target audience, as different aesthetics will appeal to different groups of people.

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Color is one of the most important choices of a UI, and different markets interpret colors differently. Around the world, colors and color combinations imply different meanings based on cultural norms and understandings, so when localizing a user interface or when developing your UI with a global audience in mind, you must consider the international implications of color combinations. Selecting a design that is functional, imaginative, and approachable cross-culturally, can make a huge difference in how your app or website is received internationally.

Conclusion

Focusing on your users is one of the most important aspects to any product, software, or service. In order to create a user interface that is successful in global markets, there are many factors to keep in mind, the primary one being: who is your user, and how do you want them to interact with your brand. By understanding your users’ needs and taking time to think the way users do, you will be able to create software which successfully allows both them, and your brand, to achieve set goals. One effective method to ensure that your UI is meeting all of your targets is to use a localized language team as testers. Exploring your interface with such a team can give you unprecedented insights as to how to improve your user experience for your markets, leading to increased success of international launches.

 

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