Languages are one of the few defining features for masses. Together with borders and several specific features, languages help us labeling ourselves. And since we are walking towards a interconnected future, I want to see how some corporate sites tackle diversity. So, in this article I’ve tried to analyze language selectors in corporate websites.
HTC, as one of the major players in the mobile industry, has a very nice website targeted to a variety of users. As soon as you get to the site, you are sent to a local version where the latest devices were displayed. Detecting the location of your visitor and then serving the content in native language helps companies in getting a high conversion rate.
The language indicator is positioned in the top right side. This enables the user to easily see the current language and provides him with a quick and intuitive way to change the language of the site. After clicking the language selector, we are sent to a whole page dedicated to all available languages. This is an easy task to complete and quite elegantly crafted.
Compared to HTC, Samsung has a different position for the language selector. This is situated in the bottom left side and it also provides the user with a new visual indicator – country flag. In this case we are sent as well to an entire page where all available languages together with countries’ flags are listed.
To keep the tradition going, even in the case of Blackberry we are redirected to a local translated page. Now to break the tradition, the landing page is far from usable when it comes to language selector.
So, in order to get rid of that landing page you have to click on the logo that will send you to a full size language selector page. This kind of workflow is far from usable. Users with less technical background will never click on the logo even if it is a common practice when designing websites.
On much important sub-sites (UK, US …), Blackberry provides a language selector in the lower left side. Usable, but hardly visible.
The biggest PC maker in the world, HP has one of the most visited websites. With that kind of responsibility on its shoulders, HP did a good job providing the user with a language option on the first page. The component is situated in the bottom left side and apart from the country flag we have also a tiny globe icon.
This is one of the most emphasized controls on corporate websites. Too bad that on secondary pages you have nothing like that, the language selector being vanished.
Logos are by far some of the most exposed elements in a website. Apparently Lenovo knows this, otherwise I can’t explain placing a languages drop-down list in the right side of the logo. The strange thing is that it looks good, is highly usable and it’s not visually obstructive. Another nice thing is that Lenovo has invested time and resources in order to have all local sites based on the same layout and design.
The second largest PC maker, Acer proves to be one important player when it comes to multilingual yet usable site. From the first time, you are asked to select your country and then you are redirected to your selected local site. What I like about Acer, is that although not all the content is translated, most of the local versions have the same design.
While on the your selected site, you are able to change the language by selecting the indicator situated in the bottom left side.
Even though this is one hated company, I can’t create this list of corporate sites without Microsoft. Microsoft provides its millions of users with a wide variety of languages. In this case we have a language selector placed in the top right side of the site, being part of the main menu. Once clicked, a drop-down menu appears covering countries with their languages. A pretty simple solution yet quite practical.
Oracle provides a similar solution for multilingual site as Microsoft. A link positioned in the top side of the web page, though not emphasized, helps the user pick a different language. I would’ve liked to see maybe a simple flag there or a globe, in order to make up for the low font size.
SAP approach to a multilingual solution is nothing out of the ordinary. First you are prompted to select your region, then your country and after that you are redirected to your local site. Here, the language indicator is placed in the top side, being embedded into the main menu.
When you say corporate, IBM is one of the first three names that pop in your mind. So here we are, judging the “Big Blue” about its choices regarding languages. IBM may not be one of the first names that screams usability but you might reconsider that once you analyze how usable the languages approach is. The language indicator is placed in the top right side of the site, having a nice world map icon as a visual indicator. Once you click on it, you are taken to a dedicated page where you select your country from a drop-down list.
Apart from these listed companies, I’ve analyzed others as well ( Nvidia, AMD, Intel, Amazon … ), just that it doesn’t make sense to list all their details. Instead I will list some final numbers regarding languages selector in corporate websites.
Hope it helps in your future projects. Cheers!
|Top Side||62% mostly in the right corner|
|Bottom Side||38% mostly in the left corner|