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Language Accessibility as a Design Concern

November 14, 2017   -   Posted by Francesca Mayr
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Make things people want to engage with

9/10 users  always  visit websites in their own language when presented with a choice of language, even if they also speak English. (European Union, "User Language Preferences Online")


 

As design thinkers, we understand the power of personalization. We value simplifying tasks. We're dedicated to making experiences better, more delightful, more natural, more effective. 

The Interaction Design Foundation characterizes design in this way, "A design is only useful if it’s accessible to the user: any user, anywhere, anytime." The implications for this are broad and far-reaching, but consider this in terms of language. Language plays an essential role in, not only the extent to which users can or choose to engage, but if they are able to engage at all in a designed experience. 

What an impactful opportunity to be kind to users! To tell them they are valued and respected, no matter what language they speak or where they're from. To make information as accessible as possble. As empathetic creators, there is perhaps no one more equipped to advocate for in-language experiences than the designer. 

As empathetic creators, there is perhaps no one more equipped to advocate for in-language experiences than the designer. 


 So where to start?

First things First: Understand your Audience

“How well we communicate is determined not by how well we say things, but how well we are understood.” –Andrew Grove

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” –Steve Jobs

 

Additional Resources