London, UK (PRWEB UK) 13 June 2014
The philosophy of responsive design, in which a single version of a site is automatically optimised to show content correctly whether it’s accessed on mobile, tablet or desktop displays, has become a popular concept among web designers and front-end engineers. This approach to designing websites, which uses Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) media queries to change a site’s layout based on the device’s display resolution, delivers several benefits that are magnified when they’re incorporated into your website localisation processes, including the following:
1. Your Page Layouts Fit Any Resolution on Any Device
No matter how well you research consumers’ preferred browsing platforms in your target countries, the constant roll-out of new devices and improvements to monitor resolutions can affect consumer browsing habits. If your website is built using responsive design principles, its overall page structure will automatically expand or contract for optimal viewing on any device. This key aspect of responsive design relies on the use of relative rather than fixed units of measure in your site specifications. The key benefit is that it eliminates the need to create different layouts for mobile, tablet and desktop web browsers to account for resolution variations in each device. Also, by using a single layout for your website, you avoid to the need to replicate your localisation efforts for each type of platform, which minimises the chance for errors and omissions. A single layout approach offers an additional advantage: when generating search results, Google prefers sites that are designed responsively, thereby increasing the in-country search engine optimisation of your site.1
2. Your Localised Content Renders Properly, Regardless of Layout
To ensure your website will fully adapt to changes in resolution, apply responsive design practices to localised web content as well as page layouts. For example, by selecting Unicode fonts for your site and specifying font sizes in percentages instead of points, you can be sure that your text will display at an appropriate size, regardless of the devices and languages your audience uses.
When translating content into languages that do not place spaces between written words such as Japanese or Chinese, consider adding zero-width spaces in the text markup to ensure that lines of text are divided properly when the page is resized. For other languages, if the translated text contains lengthy words, you can insert soft hyphens between syllables that will appear only if the text needs to break where the hyphens have been placed.
Buttons or icons that contain text can also be included in your responsive design strategy. Because words can often differ in length when they are translated, the images that contain them must be able to change sizes, too. By using programmable buttons that can accommodate text of various lengths instead of static image files, you can make your site’s pages even more fluid and responsive. Do keep in mind – these practices can be applied to any language, but you must still adhere to the specific conventions of the target language. For example, the hyphenation of German words can cause their spelling to change (Zucker becomes Zuk-ker), and the Kinsoku rules of Japanese prohibit certain characters from beginning or ending a line.3
3. You’ll Reduce the Time it Takes to Localise Your Websites
Once you’ve incorporated responsive design principles into your site structure, you can use your existing page templates—or slight variations of them, if local conventions dictate—when expanding your reach to other countries. You will still need to localise your site content to meet your new consumers’ expectations and code it according to responsive design principles, but by using the same responsive foundation for all versions of your site, you’ll eliminate the need to determine exactly which web browsing platforms your customers prefer and no longer need to create a layout optimised for each.
Adopting responsive design techniques significantly enhance and streamline the work of creating and maintaining localised web content. You can further maximise your results and keep up with the latest best practices in localised website design by working with a localisation services provider experienced in localised web design.
1 “Recommendations for Building Smartphone-Optimized Websites,” Google Webmaster Central Blog, June 6, 2012, http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2012/06/recommendations-for-building-smartphone.html (accessed March 5, 2014).
2 Pei-Luen Patrick Rau, Tom Plocher, and Yee-Yin Choong, Cross-Cultural Design for IT Products and Services, Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2013, page 38.
3 Ibid., page 43.
About Merrill Brink International
Merrill Brink International (http://www.merrillbrink.com) is a leading provider of complete translation and language solutions for global companies and law firms, with special expertise in serving the legal, financial, life sciences, software, heavy machinery and corporate markets. A proven leader with more than 30 years of experience, Merrill Brink offers a wide range of language solutions including translation, localisation, desktop publishing and globalisation services.
Merrill Brink is recognised in the industry for its commitment to quality and its pioneering approach of leveraging technology to reduce costs, eliminate redundant processes and accelerate translation life cycles. Merrill Brink is certified to ISO 9001:2008; ISO/IEC 27001:2005 and ISO 13485:2003, and compliant to EN 15038:2006 and ISO 14971:2007. Together, these standards provide assurance that the most stringent process and quality standards for translation are followed. Merrill Brink International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Merrill Corporation.