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How to Design for Non-native English Speakers

By Manik Arora The definition of design is continually changing and evolving—at least in the public’s perception. But design will forever remain a problem-solving process. As a design community, we have always designed for a global audience, for which English is their first language. But, today, we must think about designing for the next billion people. As we progressively focus more and more on inclusive design and diverse cultures, we must accept that 98% of the population are not native English speakers. Designing for this broader audience has become an imperative. For designers, communication is a key facet of everything we create. The entire design process is predicated on systems requiring clear communication between clients, stakeholders, teams, and users. The language barrier seems bigger than ever when we’re designing for an audience with whom we don’t share a common language. In this column, I’ll discuss some common challenges that you’ll confront when designing for an audience of users who aren’t proficient in English. I’ll also share my tried-and-tested strategies for solving this problem. Read More

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