International websites often differ strongly from country to country. For example, Youku.com, the Chinese version of YouTube, contains less than 19 main navigation items and six corresponding tabs. The Dutch version has six main navigation items and no tabs. The differences in web design are not accidental. The sites cater to the specific habits and cultural background of the website visitors. This article describes the most important considerations when designing websites for different countries.
There is increasingly more known about the similarities and differences in behavior of people visiting a website from different places in the world. The awareness of these cultural differences are often crucial for the effectiveness of a website. In this article I discuss six elements to take into account when designing websites for different countries or regions:
3. Use of color
4. local designations
5. Online buying behavior
6. Navigation and usability
The cultural background of a site visitor is very decisive for the way he perceives a website. When designing a website for different countries it is essential to take into account such things as tone of voice, symbols and meaning of colors. In the design of non-Western sites it is also necessary that the navigation and usability is tailored to the specific target group. The biggest difference in navigation is found in Asia. Where we are used to convenience and not too many choices on a page, it is customary in Asia to have as much options as possible. Just like shopping in Hong Kong or Beijing, the homepages of the top twenty Chinese websites are filled with many marks, tabs and flashing banners.
In order not to in the above-mentioned steps traps, it is advisable in some way to make use of local expertise. It is then recommended as local users in the design and testing phase to, for example, a user survey to be carried out remotely.
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