It’s no small challenge to create a consistently compelling experience for customers worldwide.

For any company doing business in multiple international locations, creating a global website is the most effective, efficient and consistent way to reach customers wherever they are.

However, such a site brings with it a new subset of design considerations.

Overall, designers need to take into account different cultural factors, including language, color patterns or images. Ultimately, you must make a website suited toward customers in more than just one part of the world.

Here are four main points to consider when designing a global website:TR Screen grab

  • Avoid image-based text. Major translation systems like Google Translate will not work on copy contained in images. Text-based images limit your page to one language. Look to GE for a good example of a global site that avoids translation issues by limiting the amount of text they place on images.
  • Create a layout that factors in the size differences of languages. It’s no secret that a sentiment expressed in one language can be expressed quite differently in another. Create a layout that allows your website to retain its aesthetic value when adapting to these differences. Thomson Reuters is one example of a company site that remains aesthetically pleasing in any language.
  • Give international customers an option. Whether it’s in the form of a world map, or different country flags, giving customers the option to select a country or a language simplifies the user experience. Companies like Siemens have provided over 100 different ways for page visitors to read their site.
  • Don’t forget about cultural sensitivities. What’s true for one culture may not be true for another. Colors, logos and photos can mean different things to different cultures. There’s a lot more to say here; in a future post, we’ll further explore some of the cultural sensitivities to consider when building your global website.

Adaptability is the name of the game. Take the time to get to know the different personas of your global target audience, and strive to deliver an experience that’s accessible and satisfying for everyone.