Bookmark: "Don’t Alienate Your User: A Primer for Internationalisation & Localisation"

Sebastian Greger


The web should be an inclusive place for anyone to be able to learn, no matter their background or location. However, despite global reach, a huge part of the web is only tailored for western audiences – 52% of all websites are in English, and of the 4.72 billion internet users, only 25.9% are English-speaking.

This article by Sophie Clifton-Tucker presents a whole range of considerations how to better consider varying cultural norms in design. It illustrates the difference between internationalization (i18n) as a “pre-launch” design phase task, and the “post-launch” localization (l10n), but most importantly provides an even broader perspective in calling for culturally aware design.

This includes aspects such as considering that not all third-party APIs may be available in all countries or awareness that the “hamburger menu” button is unknown in China, where instead a “Discover” button with a compass icon is used for navigation. I find these cultural considerations particularly interesting, and the author provides a link to another resource with more on that:

On the topic of China, I just recently ran into this eye-opening article about URLs:

At first sight, this article may not have much to do with accessibility or inclusive design. Yet, after reading it, I suddenly realized how even my own thinking, deliberately tuned to think in an inclusive, prejudice-free way wherever possible, has been biased by a preconception of something I do not fully understand. […]