The Best International & Localized Devportal for the DevPortal Awards category was first introduced in 2019. We will highlight the criteria that we think defines this category and provide examples based on prior year nominations.
Throughout our developer portal research and project work, we found that companies often address audiences with specific expectations in various regions. When you pay attention to accessibility, internationalization & localization elements, the overall user experience will be better and your users will be more likely to engage with your devportal.
This article collects various explanations, tricks and tools that enable inclusivity in the broad sense. The examples in this post are taken from some of the DevPortal Awards 2018 nominees.
Best international & localized portal
Our DevPortal Awards definition for this category: “Devportals that implement devices or content strategies to address cultural diversity, differences in language capabilities, local legal requirements and regional expectations.”
According to Wikipedia, internationalization (I18n) is the process of designing a software application so that it can be adapted to various languages and regions without engineering changes. Localization (L10n) is the process of adapting internationalized software for a specific region or language by translating text and adding locale-specific components.
In short: internationalization — with its design and development practices — enables localization for target audiences that vary in culture, region, or language.
Cultural diversity & language capabilities
In her article on the role that UX writers play in localizing a regional product, Nina, of Honestbee design, states that “it’s more than just writing with correct grammar, it’s truly about using words that people can identify with.’’ Some of the listed tips:
- Adopt language inclusivity (avoid jargon, slang or idioms, and use gender-neutral pronouns).
- Use the 30% rule for interface copy (some words become longer after translation: consider this in the UI design phase).
- Build a team of content reviewers that are familiar with the language, specific user needs and the cultural habits.
Localization is more than translating and updating existing content: it aims at adapting a product, application or content to the language, cultural and other requirements of a specific target market, the “locale”. It might require the rethinking of logic and visual design. Localization can involve customization connected to:
- Numeric, date and time formats
- Use of currency
- Keyboard usage
- Collation and sorting
- Symbols, icons and colors
At the API the Docs London 2018 conference, Atsushi Nakatsugawa illustrated what the benefits of localization are, in comparison to translation only.
Local legal requirements & regional expectations
What do you need to run a global API business? You translate or localize content, and also:
- Prevent misinterpretations and avoid content that users might consider as sensitive or inappropriate.
- Pay attention to regional legal requirements (e.g. some regions don’t allow deep linking).
- Take regional business restrictions into account.
- Research local user expectations: this will influence your devportal’s ideal UX accordingly.
Tips and Tools
- The W3C Internationalization Checker helps you find out to what extent the web page you enter is internationalization-friendly.
- Additionally, you can also explore the short I18n review checklist.
The examples in this post are taken from some of the previous DevPortal Awards nominees and winners.
Kathleen De Roo
Kathleen is an information architect helping clients find out how to align business goals and user needs with the knowledge we gathered about devportals. She grew her expertise through early research on developer portals to determine components, strategy, and best practices for user experience. She holds master's degrees in history and in archival science & records management.