We want to be good writers and designers, so we want our readers to interpret our message in the way we intend it – always with goodwill toward readers. International audiences can be especially sensitive to work with because of cultural differences – for example, a healthcare site with purple as the dominant color might deter a Thai audience, since Thai culture associates the color purple with death and widows. EEK! So with globalization constantly expanding, localization becomes a necessary skill in the web and content management sphere. Consider approaching the task at two levels:
Macro Audience Analysis
At the macro level, we look at the website as a whole and notices its features: menu bars, buttons, color, hyperlinks, etc.
Micro Audience Analysis
We then take those components noticed at the macro level, and analyzes them individually to determine how a particular characteristic is presented within the overall prototype.
Where to Begin
Start by finding several websites related to your own. Is a certain color repeated among these websites. Note where certain images and functions are located on the page. Click through the pages to see the content – does it look clean and concise, or does it look like a content overload? Take notes and provide a thorough analysis of each element you find important. The more websites you research, the better your analysis will be.
When You’re Finished
Employ usability testing techniques – have your website tested and evaluated by sample users from the cultural audience you’re trying to reach. Consider conducting usability tests at certain benchmarks throughout the site’s building process; this could lead to a more accurate attention to detail.
Happy trails to you as you work for your global audience.
Macro and micro analysis concepts attributed to Kirk St. Amant’s publication “A prototype theory approach to website localization: an analytical method for technical communicators.”