Editor’s note: Part one of this two-part series explains how the global market presents new challenges for designers to address language barriers and cultural nuances and tips to overcome them.
When I was hired by the Russian client I mentioned in last week’s issue, the product they wished to create was relatively straightforward.
They wanted an app that could notify certain contacts when a user came into personal danger.
If a user felt that they were being followed, for example, or was approached by a dangerous individual, they open the app, press a button, and if a pin code was not entered after 10 seconds, the contacts—bodyguards—would be notified.
Fortunately, the client provided wireframes and user flows so my job was entirely focused on user interface (UI) and visual design.
Immediately, I was stunned by the Russian alphabet the client provided in the user flow.
I simply didn’t have a Cyrillic keyboard, and I thought I might have to copy and paste from Google Translate if the necessary text wasn’t already in the user flows.
Solution: I took the time to produce a comprehensive document of all of the phrases the app needed and asked the client to review it—not only to translate it, but also to ensure that all of the nuances were appropriate.
Interface designers will always argue over Sketch vs. Adobe. But all preconceived notions go out the window when you realize that certain languages provide program limitations. For instance, not all fonts work for different alphabets, and each application processes fonts somewhat differently.
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