Internationalization (i18n)

Markets, countries and employees are no longer restricted to a single monolithic language or location. Planning for the various linguistic, visual and directional challenges at the beginning of a design process will put you on the road to success.


Reading and layout

  • Design form fields, labels, messaging areas, buttons, headers, navigation, etc. to allow for a flexible amount of space and while maintaining readability in the more robust languages. (A good rule of thumb is to account for an extra 50-100% of length)
  • Plan for bi-directional layouts as necessary to aid those more familiar with those patterns.
  • Help browsers and screen readers understand the proper language and locale of the content.
Circles stacked


  • Build in the ability to change imagery, iconography and color as appropriate for the locale or language.
  • Ensure that all icons point in the proper direction when layouts and directional interactions change.


  • Provide simple ways to evaluate and update missing content for localized languages.

Last updated: Oct 2017

Next: Icons and media