How To Design Websites For Culture-Specific Audiences

by . November 14th, 2012

The World Wide Web is affecting every business. Anyone from any part of the world can access any website and can make a deal according to the offers made at the site. The main objective of any website is to attract the targeted audiences; some remain successful while others fail in achieving the target.

English is the main language used at websites to facilitate the users from any part of the world to understand what the major offers of the business are. However, multilingual users prefer to see the website in their native language rather than in English.

If a website is developed with multilingual approach, more are the chances to win over the global customers from diverse cultural background. Multilingual approach is more about the design process instead of using a translation program.



How To Do Translation?



A translation widget can be built up in a cost effective manner to resolve the issue of translation. Google Translate or Babelfish are the best options as translation widgets. Machine specific translation won’t help the culture specific references and other special phrases to get translated.

While translating a website, keywords shouldn’t be touched due to the SEO significance. It’s due to the fact that keywords, abbreviations, and colloquialisms are commonly the same terms used everywhere, so no need to change them.

If a professionally expert is hired for translation purpose, it would be a bit expensive, but will ensure less mistake count. This kind of translation is known as transcreation, means writing the web copy in other language.





How To Use The Tools In Right Way?

To help translation at some later stage, the design and content can be kept separate by using CSS. The direction of writing languages may affect the navigation menu while translating. CSS makes it lot easier to reverse the direction of web text. If horizontal navigation bars were used from the very start, there would be no need to redesign the navigation bar.

UTF-8 is the best character-encoding tool, having 100 languages compatibility, and friendliness with almost all of the commonly used browsers. It makes use of non-Latin scripts and the special characters in Latin alphabets like that of German and Swedish.



How To Design For Different Cultures?

Many factors are there to consider when it comes to designing according to different cultures. The offensive images should be avoided at all. Colors should be selected keeping in mind the cultural preferences e.g., white colors is associated to marriage in west, but it’s considered as death related sign in China and India. So, while designing, general mood of the audience should be considered.



People from different cultural backgrounds perceive the information differently. Therefore, design of a website can be viewed differently by different people. Anthropologists have divided culture in two forms: high context culture and low context culture.

High content culture refers to the people living in Asian countries who prefer complete look and feel of a website while deciding about the good design. Low context culture refers to Germany and Scandinavian countries where people look at the precise information, presented in clear manner.



A website designed for targeted customers from different cultures should have a design accordingly. Whether it’s the color, theme, language, or other designing elements, culture should be kept in mind. A professional website design firm should also consider this while designing for clients from diverse cultural background.


Maria Shehar Bano

About the Author

This post is written by Maria Shehar Bano. She is working for a well known website design firm that specializes in Web Design, development and internet marketing.