New challenges are what we thrive on and so the opportunity to work with a client on migrating them to a Multi Language and Multi Currency website was exciting.
Specifying the Minimum
Key to getting a great outcome was the first step of the site adjustment – what was the minimum viable site which would work?
The site has three main parts – a membership area, an online shop and a blog. We decided to start with the blog and shop.
The most visited pages were prioritised for translation and the migration plan included adding shop products in descending order of popularity.
Integrations with MailChimp were also planned and a range of marcoms tactics to publicise to the existing user base.
Stage two was to add multi-currency to the site. Since German was the language we added, it was clear the Euro currency was needed. Finding a good plugin wasn’t hard – but customising the display to suit the site made usability better.
The default install is below – the user has to notice that the flag doesn’t match their country and then click the down arrow to find alternatives. This was clumsy and not very obvious since nothing actually mentioned that this related to payment choices.
Our improvements were made with two changes – firstly displaying the currencies side by side in a grey bar and secondly by adding a label “Change Currency”.
Lastly we recommended the client pay for the fully functioned version and add many more currencies – we selected these based on the countries where website visitors come from.
Unexpected outcomes and challenges
Here’s our list of things which we found challenging and which should help you shortcut your own learning.
- Back end is duplicated now in each language – but you have to select each page or post individually for translation
- Creating new landing pages for each language means that the URL needs to also change, making the site structure more complex
- The tags and categories can be translated, listed for the translation team to work on or left untranslated
- Categories lists (created alphabetically in English) are listed differently in other languages
- The media library is common to both – but labels, naming and searching is in each language
- Publicity tools like OneSignal work across the whole site and were sending out updates in both languages. Customers noticed and told us they didn’t like this.
- Mail Chimp allows editing of database field labels e.g. “Subscribe here” but we found that a lot more work was needed to update all the messaging with subscription confirmation emails, unsubscribe messages etc.
Overall we found that we needed to create “rules” for the teams using the site – marketing, translation, web and merchandising so that it was clear where and how we expected any product, image or article to display and be included in the taxonomy. Many of these rules could not be anticipated and so necessitated detailed checking of each others’ work to identify mis-matches.