Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Reaching a global web audience

If your web site reaches global audiences, make sure it reflects an awareness of their needs.

Does your site measure up to global web etiquette?
Here’s what to include to ensure overseas clients know you want to work with them.

1. A welcome message in multiple languages

2. Don’t use graphics, especially for a navigation button, that don’t translate well.

3. Use web development tools that work worldwide. While Adobe’s portable document format (.pdf) is a widely adopted standard, other web tools such as Java and Flash may not be, especially in countries with less advanced Internet connections.

4. Be courteous when listing events and prices on your site with an international format for date/time, and prices shown in multiple currencies.

5. Check your website statistics (hits) to see where visitors are coming from.

Non-English speaking Internet users now outnumber those who speak English. If you have, or want to attract, a particular international audience, consider using flags on your home page to denote pages written in English, French, Italian, or other languages. When a user clicks on a country flag, they’re taken to a translated page of your site.

For help with translating a block of text, try AltaVista’s BabelFish technology at