How to design words
John Saito

Now imagine designing software for an international market or an international user who knows English but isn’t very fluent. You could write an entirely new article on that topic alone!

The translated English copy might be longer and may not fit the space you originally designed for it. Or the English words you decided to use are similar to words used in the user’s native language which could be misconstrued as being insulting, or just downright confusing.

And to make things worse, placement of copy might be completely reversed for languages that read from right to left instead of left to right.

Not to mention all of the cultural differences when it comes to interpreting the meanings behind different colors and other similar design choices that we take for granted in the American market.

In most cases, color isn’t enough to convey meaning to the user. Many people suffer from color blindness or other vision impairments and the best solution with the highest contrast is to use some sort of icon or visual element in conjunction with the choice of color.

This is a great primer for designing for native English speaking users that live in America, but software should be much more inclusive than that. (generally speaking)

Next time you work on a project, take a moment to think about different cultures and languages before writing the copy for your app or website. You might be glad you did!

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