Internationalization (i18n) is designing an easily adaptable product or service for multiple markets. In other words, it's making your product "global-ready." This process typically involves creating easy-to-localize content for various languages, making your website globally visible. Here are some points you need to consider while internationalizing your product.
- String length
When designing a product for internationalization, it is vital to set the string length for UI and UX to ensure that text is displayed correctly and legible for all target markets. Additionally, it is essential to consider the width of the screen or device when designing your product, as this may affect how locales display texts.
- Localization of dates, times, numbers, and currencies
There are many ways to localize dates, times, numbers, and currencies. For example, you can format dates and times using the local language and/or the local calendar. You can also use the local currency instead of or in addition to the standard currency. When it comes to localization, there are many options to consider!
- Adapting to different input methods (e.g., keyboard layouts)
Considering how people will interact with your product in different countries is essential. Primarily, you should consider other input methods, such as keyboard layouts.
For example, the English keyboard layout differs from the Spanish one. If you're designing a product for both countries, you'll need to ensure your product is compatible with both keyboard layouts. You may need to create different versions of your product for each country, or it may simply mean making sure your product is easy to translate and localize.
- Supporting multiple languages
You'll need to create a translation interface to support multiple languages and ensure users can crawl your website in different languages.
One way to accomplish this is using a content management system (CMS) that supports multiple languages. A CMS allows you to create and manage multilingual content quickly and efficiently. In addition, many CMSs offer built-in translation features that make it easy to translate your website into different languages.
- Handling right-to-left scripts (if applicable)
If your target audience speaks a language that uses right-to-left scripts (e.g., Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu), you'll need to consider the directionality of these scripts. You should adjust the layout of your website and/or create separate versions of your product or website for right-to-left texts.
- Designing for different screen sizes and resolutions
Regarding internationalization, it's essential to consider different screen sizes and resolutions globally. For example, if you're designing a product for the U.S. and Japanese markets, you'll need to ensure your product is compatible with the screen size and resolution used in the U.S (1280x1024 pixels) and Japan (1024x768 pixels). You or your developer team can design different versions of your product for each country to overcome this setback.
Most companies see the internationalization process as costly and time-consuming, but realizing such a need during a product launch will cost you much more time, losing vast amounts of money. However, this crucial step enables you to reach a larger market and helps you get a way higher ROI.