UX Localization: How to Improve User Experience for International Audiences

Step-by-step guide on providing an outstanding user experience in every new market you enter.

With the growing global market, staying competitive often requires companies to reach international audiences with their websites and mobile apps. For businesses seeking to expand into new markets, UX localization can be a powerful tool for enhancing the user experience for multilingual audiences. Read further and learn how localization will help you boost your user experience.

What is User Experience (UX)

According to NN/g, user experience encompasses all aspects of the end-users interacting with the company, its services, and its products. UX designers are thus concerned with making the company's products and assets enjoyable for its customers. 

As a website serves as a front window of your business on the internet, UX designers put a lot of emphasis on making it look great. Designers work hard to optimize how:

  • Users enjoy using the website.
  • Seamless is the users' flow through the site. 
  • Easy it is to use and for users to accomplish their goals.  

The end goal of every UX designer is to create a website that provides a meaningful and seamless experience to all website visitors. UX design is not only concerned about good photos and font sizes. Design flow considers branding, design, usability, and function.

Therefore, UX isn't done only on the designer's artistic touch but on actual research. It depends heavily on research and finding the right market fit. Day to day work of a UX designer thus usually revolves around design research and trends, industry analysis, and web design principles. 

The goal is to design a website that serves as an ideal solution for customer needs. It is essential to distinguish UX from UI (user interface). Ui is concerned with the aesthetic of the website.

To learn more about the differences between UX and UI,  read this article by Flowout

What is localization?

Localization is an extension of a classic translation. It means fully adapting your brand and offerings to a specific local audience. Localization revolves does not only revolve around words but also:

  • Converting currencies, dates, and measurement systems in locally accepted formats.
  • Adjusting your branding and visuals to fit the local audience.
  • Using popular communication and social channels in a targeted market.
  • Ensuring your marketing and business efforts align with the local regulations.
  • Adapting payment methods and processes

Localization has been one of the most popular strategies when expanding to new markets. Knowing the fact that 9 out of 10 internet users prefer visiting websites in their native language, this is not at all surprising. Companies thus use localization strategy to create a tailored experience for local customers.

Creating a global user experience

When creating a website serving multiple target markets, you must consider the language and cultural differences from the beginning. You must plan how to cater the website to your international users long before the localization process begins. 

Laying the groundwork for the website to meet the expectation of global users is known as cross-cultural UX design. To do this successfully, you must understand the audience in your new market. Here are some key things to consider when adapting your website for a specific audience:

  • Cultural factors impacting user behavior.
  • The brand image that you want to establish.
  • Cultural differences between your target audience and domestic users.
  • The potential value of your target market.

International UX design also involves combining usability, UI, and localization best practices:

  • Letting the user choose which language they want to use instead of imposing a language based on geolocation.
  • Allowing users to change their preferences.
  • Displaying currencies and measurement systems in locally accepted formats.
  • Translating all content into the local language. 
  • Adapting website visuals for cultural preferences.

UX localization good practices

Ensure the same usability in every market

Every user should engage with your website with ease. When people visit your website, they don't want to spend time understanding how it works and how to navigate through it. According to the report by Zippia, 38% of all web users stop interacting with poorly usable websites. UX Statistics reports that 70% of all online businesses fail due to poor usability. 

Design every website with the user in your mind. Keep the copy short and sweet, and make sure it provides value. Don't put content on your website just for the sake of it.

You have to consider all previous further factors for all markets you want to cater to the website. What seems normal in one culture may look wrong or unnatural in another. Here is where UX localization comes into play. UX localization can impact:

  • Forms for user input. Some cultures often offer two fields for users to enter their names: given name and family name. Elsewhere, like in Spain, there are two fields for the family name because people use the surnames of both parents.
  • Symbols and Icons. Different cultures use different symbols in their communication. Symbolism allows us to convey ideas that are too complex or nebulous for words
  • Colors. Colors can have different meanings through cultures. The color yellow is associated with happiness in the USA, yet in Japan, it represents nature and sunshine. 
  • Navigation structure. Different cultures use different ways to navigate around the website. Navigation allows users to easily find the information they are looking for and even the information that they didn't know they needed. Learn more about website navigation in this article by HubSpot

Localize relevant UI elements

Websites don't just contain plain text and nothing else. There is a high chance a website will have quite a few elements that will complement the content and help create a more engaging website. Those elements are most likely culturally relevant to a specific audience and should be localized with the rest of your website content. A list of described elements contains:

  • Images.
  • The color palette
  • The font style and size.
  • The layout
  • Animation and video used in tutorial and marketing content.
  • Customer reviews on the website.
  • Call-to-action buttons.
  • Internal and external links. 
  • Payment methods.

A great example of a business that localizes its UI elements is Spotify. Their marketing goal is to appear right in every single market. Thus they localize images, recommended playlists, and shift specific songs to more culturally appropriate ones. 

Content localization

Content localization is essential due to various reasons. It allows international users to navigate your site and understand your offerings. Localized content will also help your SEO efforts, making your website more discoverable on Google. According to Precision Marketing Group, localized SEO improves the quality of search results for users. Creating blog posts in multiple languages will improve the relevancy of your content and Google rankings.

Your content localization strategy should include:

  • Blog posts
  • Product descriptions and guides
  • Customer support
  • API Documentation
  • Social media


UX localization is an important aspect of designing a successful website. Whether you are creating a new site or updating your existing one, it is essential to consider the needs and preferences of different international audiences. Localizing your UI elements, content, and other elements will help improve user engagement and SEO performance. To create effective UX localization strategies, you should start by researching the cultural norms, symbols, and other factors that are important to different audiences. Then, work with a team of UX designers, translators, and localization experts to create a customized approach that meets your business needs. With the right UX localization strategies in place, you can create engaging multilingual websites and apps that will appeal to a global audience.

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