Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to take your business global. But it’s surprising how many people still rely on an English-only version of their website to reach international audiences. If you want to enter a new market, surely it makes sense to speak their language – whether Spanish, Arabic or Mandarin? Overwhelmingly, the statistics say it does. But to be effective, a multilingual site must be done right.
The English language bias
Creating a website in English is natural for a business based in a native speaking country – we know the language and can communicate with it effectively. However, expecting a foreign market to widely accept and understand it, based on the assumption that English is a popular second language in many nationalities, is unrealistic.
While it is true that English is the most popular language online, it still only represents 26% of internet users (Statista). This means that international-orientated businesses with an English-only version of their website are missing out on a share of a much wider global market.
Customers prefer their mother tongue
Even where a foreign consumer understands English, they are still less likely to be convinced by your product or service if they can’t access it in their mother tongue. In fact, according to the Common Sense Advisory study ‘Can’t Read, Won’t Buy’, 85% of consumers won’t make a purchase if information is not readily available in their own language.
Why? Because of the very realistic belief that you should be working hard to sell to them, not the other way around. By offering a version of your website in their language, you are showing international customers that they are important and you would like to do business with them.
Multilingual websites make business sense
Because it offers the possibility to not only widen your potential customer base, but also to ensure foreign customers will listen to what you have to say, translating your website into other languages makes perfect business sense. A multilingual website can help you:
Creating a multilingual website certainly offers many benefits, but ensuring you get it right is essential.
How to turn your website multilingual
A big reason why companies don’t offer other language versions of their website is hesitation over how to effectively implement and manage it. How can I trust content in a language I don’t understand? How will I manage multiple sites? How am I supposed to understand the needs of the target audience?
When it comes to implementation, you have two options:
Online translation tools certainly have their place, and can be cost effective. However, they also offer a big drawback. By making a literal translation they can miss out words not directly transferable. Plus they don’t take into account the nuances of a language – the ways of expression that make it culturally meaningful to the reader.
It is therefore advisable to hire the services of a professional translator where possible. By establishing a relationship with a translator with sound credentials, you can be more confident the content will be accurate.
From translation to localisation
Whichever way you go, it is important that you translate all the seen and unseen written content on your website.
If you want to go one step further than translation, you could also localise your site. Consider the format, layout and images – do they match the cultural expectations of that country? Do some research. If they don’t, change them.
Making your multilingual website work
One of the best ways to manage and display you multilingual website is by adding easy-to-identify links on the homepage of your English site. As you are unlikely to get much organic traffic at first, it’s sensible to use paid ads which can direct people to the correct version as soon as they click.
There is little doubt that speaking to your international customers in their own language can help your business grow. But skilful execution is necessary to ensure your multilingual website succeeds.
Flat design has exploded in recent years, thanks to a range of prestigious early adopters that paved the way for the rest of the online stratosphere. In 2014 and beyond, there have been many big name brands that have become swept up in flat digital design. So where did this design trend come from? Is it here to stay? What are the benefits and downsides of flat digital design, and can we use a crystal ball to see where it will all be heading? Without further ado, let’s take a trip down the digital garden path.
What is Flat Design?
Flat design to the uninitiated may conjure up ideas of a bland and lifeless i.e. ‘flat’ seeming design aesthetic. However this isn’t the meaning of the term. Instead it is a style of design that is exciting, fresh and very right now. It’s a style of design where elements use their stylistic characters that give them 3-D appearance. In other words, drop shadows, gradients, textures and another elements that give the design a three-dimensional feel are removed, rendering the design flat.
This can be a wonderful way to express imagery, content and the underlying message without the distraction of three-dimensional design elements. In other words, flat design can cut out the hubris or background noise in digital design, and make it appear more modern. So what’s this opposing dated version of digital design that we’re talking about? Well it’s only fair when discussing flat design that we look at its counterpart.
Rich design is the use of drop shadows, reflections, gradients in digital design, in order to give the appearance of depth and to make the design more tactile. Rich design has the benefit of providing the user with cues about navigability. It demonstrates to the user where elements like buttons or any other clickable links are located.
Although related in some ways to Skeumorphism, Rich Design is a different design creed in itself. While rich design is about making things pop out of the screen or appear more three-dimensional, Skeumorphism is the act of making digital elements appear familiar or like their physical counterparts – a subtle but important difference to remember.
Image Source Windows 8
Flat Design: A History
Flat design hails from an illustrious design and aesthetic pedigree that reaches back to the 1920’s Germany, the Bauhaus, Minimalist and Swiss Design movements. All of these styles overlap and form a unique stylistic blending in the current time.
The Bauhaus School
Anybody who loves design will be familiar with this famous school in Germany that operated between 1919 and 1933. It was responsible for thoroughly modern and streamlined typography and architecture. The influence of Bauhaus has been felt throughout the ensuing decades in everything from furniture design to modern web design.
The Bauhaus School, Dessau 2005 Image Source
Bauhaus Art Image Source
Closely related to the Bauhaus School is the Swiss style, also known as the International Typographic Style. This is a dominant design aesthetic from the mid 20th century that originated from Switzerland, and brought Bauhaus, then a more underground and obscure aesthetic, into the mainstream of advertising, art and design.
Swiss design is typified by bold, minimal, sans-serif typography along with a clear hierarchy of content, images and layout. What we can see from this Swiss style in the 40’s and 50’s is generally a large photograph with simple typography and the use of grids.
The Swiss design style gave birth to the popularity of Helvetica, designed in 1957. This is a wonderfully simple and elegant typeface, which has also become popular recently during the renaissance of flat design in 2014. Helvetica is popular because of its unique combination of retro nostalgia and futuristic design elements.
Minimalism is a term bandied about in web design a lot and has been used interchangeably to describe flat design. However let’s not get confused here. Minimalism is also a historical term that has its roots firmly planted in architecture, interior design, visual art and design.
The basic principles of minimalism dictate that a creator/artist should remove all extraneous elements out of the piece and leave only elements that are necessary. This means geometric shapes, clean lines and bold colour.
Here is a striking examples of minimalism at work:
Yves Klein’s The Blue Epoch Image Source
Join us for the next instalment of the Flat Design series where we explore how these retro styles have been resurrected using modern technology, and why their aesthetic appeal is truly timeless.
For well-informed and striking web design that is right on the pulse of the lest trends, speak with Total Web Design today!
What is a content management system?
If you are new to the online world and to web content, you probably have many questions. One of them may be what is a content management system? Or “What is CMS?
When Ferdinand Magellan discovered through exploration that the world was spherical not flat in the middle ages, it was considered laughable at the time. Although (surprise, surprise) humans regularly circumnavigate the globe without falling off the edge into a dark abyss. So here’s another idea, albeit a slightly less revolutionary one – that the digital design world isn’t 3-D, it’s flat. We’ve heard previously about some of the granddaddies of design and how they influenced the flat design of the present time. So here’s more about how flat design went from zero to hero in the past year, and what the future holds for it.
Flat design is simply the case of a design trend coming full circle from the 1920’s to the 2010’s. The real trailblazers of the current trend are none other than Microsoft and Apple. The two ubiquitous behemoths have become trailblazers for the flat design trend. This pretty much relegated rich design to the dusty halls of yesteryear overnight.
Microsoft and their Metro Design
The Metro design that we see everywhere in Microsoft nowadays stems from an experimental offering from Microsoft back in 2006 for their Zune media player. This was released as a competitor to the universally popular Apple iPod. The Zune media player had a (back then) completely new and fresh design style that focused on a large lower-case menu type along with background imagery taken from the media player’s own image files. This media player came with a matching desktop software in the same style, for a fully integrated experience.
The Zune media player design evolved later into the Windows Phone aesthetic. The Windows Phone 7 contains this same design element along with large bright, grid-like blocks and simple sans-serif photography.
Microsoft then introduced the Windows 8 operating system with a sleek new look that encompassed bold blocks of content with sharp edges and a range of colour schemes, large lower case sans-serif typography and customised background images. The same basic design aesthetic remained and it’s now used in everything from desktop operating systems to smart phones and their Xbox 360 range. And so Windows gave birth to Metro, a flat design aesthetic that was an instant hit.
Apple and their iOS 7 design
Apple has long favoured Skeuomorphism. However that all changed with the release of iOS 7 in mid 2013. They now favour flat design for their operating system, sites, smart phones and apps. This hailed the beginning of a new era for Apple’s design aesthetic and meant the end of rich design, which has been considered passé ever since.
Following the release of iOS 7 and Windows 8, many brands got the message that the time had come for a change in the look and feel of their online presence.
The Benefits of Flat Design
Flat design shouldn’t just be seen as simply a fad that will go away soon. This is because it is inherently flexible and removes a lot of the design hubris and white noise around designing for multiple devices.
The simplicity of flat design lends itself more readily to many different devices with small screens and different resolutions. This makes it much easier to customise a web page for a smart phone, tablet and desktop PC without problematic visual changes and glitches. In other words, responsive design for multiple devices is much easier when you’re using flat design aesthetics.
Conversely, when designs rely on textures, drop shadows and fixed imagery they can become problematic for different screen sizes and browser constraints. These added details don’t translate in the same way across all devices and leads to a confusing user experience. When we take away the extraneous elements, this means faster loading times and the content can be shaped and resized a lot easier and quicker using flat design. Faster, crisper and more defined images and flexible content is the net result.
The Downside of Flat Design
Although there are not many downsides to flat design, one aspect is slightly problematic, but not impossible to manage. Flat design makes it hard for a user to distinguish between a button or clickable element on the page.
Although with past user experience under our belts, it seems that we have developed a sense of when something is a clickable element on the page, versus a background element. That’s where using a good designer comes into play.
Looking to the Future of Flat Design
While we don’t have a crystal ball on hand, we can expect that the next new thing will soon burst onto the scene and flat design will become a cultural relic. One promising clue for the future of flat design comes from the other online guru – Google. They have smartly incorporated the best of flat design with some subtle elements of rich design such as bevelled shapes and drop shadows in places to make a unique hybrid style.
As we search for ways to make the online world seem new and fresh. There’s really nothing new under the sun. We can count on the pioneers of Bauhaus, Minimalism and Swiss design for this new phase in digital design.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down the design garden path. Speak with Total Web Design for more inspiring and creative ways to make your business stand out in a crowded room full of voices.
Immersive story-telling combines the beauty of great design with the magic of the traditional long-form story. It’s actually been around since the 90’s although with the rapid advances in technology, it’s only now taking off. Take note, because this is a brand new way to engage with your audience!
The Blue Print
The original immersive story-telling experience comes from the Philadelphia Inquirier, who published a long-form story about the dramatic raid of Mogadishu. This then evolved into a book and then famous movie called Black Hawk Down. The immersive storytelling featured video, audio, maps, links and photos. Amazingly, it’s still available online. Click the photo to see for yourself.
Although it looks a bit shabby by today’s standards (the world of HTML5); it’s actually well put together and does everything it says on the tin.
What is Immersive Story-telling?
Transmedia or immersive storytelling apps engage with the audience in an audiovisual way instead of just via words. Nowadays comics can be converted into transmedia apps along with novels, non-fiction stories, news stories, advertising and even video games. Basically anything with a solid narrative. These stories immerse the reader and make them feel as though they are there. There is a PR element there too. Telling a brand or person’s story through this medium can be a particularly powerful way to reach your core audience. Here are some tools to make the magic happen!
The Shorthand app is an elegant new way of presenting long-form text pieces. It allows the producer to highlight areas of text and images, and allows these elements to move along with the reader as she scrolls down the page. There are plans in the pipeline for a free version too. ESPN executed Shorthand well in their piece on The Best of Football in 2013.
The technology in this app is similar to the previously mentioned WireWAX. Zentrick creates an interactive video by adding links to parts of the video. They also include a browser-based editing facility that allows producers to build interactive elements into the video on the fly. After this it’s possible to share and measure the influence of the video with in-built analytics. Harper Collins, Unilever and Wall Street Journal have all used Zentrick in the past.
4. Popcorn Maker
Is created by Mozilla Firefox and is another browser-based tool. This one allows you to add extra events, images or links to an underlying video or audio file. Popcorn Maker gives producers great flexibility in how they tell their story. In the past, BBC used this app effectively to tell the story of Ian Tomlinson, the newspaper vendor who died during the G20 protests in 2009. The BBC interactive video allowed users to trace Tomlinson through London during the last hours of his life. Check it out for yourself!
We hope that you’ve found this article about immersive story-telling inspiring. And that you’ve gained fresh ideas for your online marketing strategy. For more ideas, speak with Total Web Design today!
Isn’t it annoying when you are looking for something on a website and you are confused by misplaced icons? You keep trawling the website and end up disappointed. The simple reason is bad web design. The process of creating a responsive navigation website includes many factors. However design is the first and foremost one. A beautifully designed website is eye candy for visitors.
The hardest part of web designing is grabbing users’ attention and building a site in such a way that they want to return and keep coming back. Colours, contrast, visual elements and overall balance of design are all important. Moreover, content also matters. The main goal of a website is to provide engaging and well-thought out information.
While designing an e-commerce website, a designer must ensure that the site is user-friendly. The saying “what is visible, sells
Designing websites is a creative job that requires the constant refreshing of skills in accordance with the progress of technology, and the changing tastes of customers.
Innovative designers must have excellent technical skills, along with appropriate knowledge of content and development too. The quality of the work should reflect an ability to grasp the client’s requirements, as well as the goals for the project.
For the simple design of a website, one needs to have a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS. However when one works on a more advanced scale, one needs to understand a wide variety of modules, and have proficiency in programming languages like JAVA, ASP .NET, PHP and more.
A designer from Total Web Design can create more than just e-commerce sites. We can create an online ticketing system for diverse sectors such as logistics, online banking, gaming, advertising and promotions.
The top-notch designers at Total Web Design know the vital points to bear in mind while creating websites:
With the assistance of Total Web Design and our pre-made website templates, we can tailor our range of products to your business needs. Not only that, we can develop sites that are compatible with desktop, mobile and tablet devices. We can also assist with creating an innovative online marketing strategy that enables you to dominate your industry.
Total Web Design are one of Australia’s most well-loved and respected web design firms and provide for our clients online marketing strategies, SEO and web design in Sydney and all across Australia. Contact us today to get a free quote.
Every business, big or small, has the opportunity to go global nowadays; all thanks to the online world. The virtual world is flooded with information on almost everything and allows your business much required global exposure. With massive online competition, it’s essential that your website is finely tuned and perfectly designed. That’s why an intricate and intensive approach to web design is crucial.
Today, many businesses flourish solely on the online world. These businesses accomplish sales of their products and services via online transactions. A phenomenon also referred to as Ecommerce.
Equally important to e-commerce website design is innovative mobile response design. Here’s more on what elements need to be in place for web design success:
With the above improvements, your website and business are sure to appeal to a broader audience. Put these tactics to good use and expect to realise greater sales conversions and greater online visibility very quickly. Speak with Total Web Design to learn more.
For the uninitiated, Pay Per Click is a model used in internet advertising to direct traffic to websites. Advertisers pay the publisher (or the website owner) when the ad is clicked. It could be simply described as “the amount spent to get an advertisement clicked.
To make your company stand out from the crowd, a unique logo gives your business a professional edge and a sense of brand identity. If you are establishing yourself in a marketplace, it is the logo that defines your product or services. It improves your prospects and makes it easier for your fan base to identify and relate with your brand.
When creating a custom logo design, it is important to keep your tag-line, current trends, typography, colour combinations, graphic designs and other important elements in mind. To keep up your creativity is not an easy task, but there are some steps you can follow when designing a logo:
In most cases, logo designing contains a graphic element, so it needs to be designed by professionals. Getting your custom logo design created by experienced designers is always going to pay for itself many times over.
The introduction of web content management system or WCMS have made the managing and updating of websites content an extremely easy task. It is designed to allow users with little knowledge of web programming languages or markup languages to create and manage the content with simplicity without any professional help. This is because a CMS doesn’t require any technical knowledge or coding skills.
Back in the days we hired web developers, paid countless dollars on website development and updates and waited long to get our work done. But now, with the help of Content management system, a website can be launched easily in a very convenient and economical manner.
Additionally, it is a software system that provides website authoring that allows publishing, editing and modifying content without touching the websites codes. It not only make the task of managing your web content hassle-free, but will also ensure that your business web design- both desktop and mobile website design, looks extremely presentable and attractive.