Share via

Design for a global market

Windows is used worldwide, in a variety of different markets and by customers who vary in culture, geographical region, or language. Follow these guidelines when designing your app, and you will be able to adapt it later for additional cultures, regions, and languages in the global market.

Introduction to world readiness

Many app developers create their apps thinking only of their own language and culture. When the app begins to grow into other languages and markets, it can be difficult to adapt the app. Text and image resources might be specified directly within the code, making it difficult to translate and prepare for other cultures. This process can be simplified by taking a few things into account when the app is first designed.

App design guidelines

These are guidelines to keep in mind as you design your app for a global market.

  • Increase horizontal and vertical space for labels and text.

    Some languages require a design layout with extra space for text longer than what is needed for English. Avoid fixed-width items and allow for wrapping text if possible. Some characters often seen in other languages include marks above or below what is typically used in English (such as Å or Ņ). Use the standard font sizes and line heights to provide adequate vertical space. Be aware that fonts for other languages may require larger minimum font sizes to remain legible.

  • Use labels and text consistently.

    Create a single string of text to convey a concept that can be used in multiple places in an app, such as a user instruction or an error message. Placing that string in a resource file results in it being translated only once, and reduces variations in its presentation. For info about creating resource files, see Defining app resources.

  • Avoid colloquialisms and metaphors.

    Such concepts are usually specific to a single language, and can be specific to a demographic within a language. If you are adopting an informal voice or tone, be sure to explain this for your translators. To learn how to comment your strings, see Defining app resources.

  • Do not use technical jargon, abbreviations, or acronyms.

    These are difficult to translate, and are not useful to non-technical audiences.

  • Avoid culture-specific text or images.

    It can be difficult to generate translated versions of images, and they may bloat the size of your app, slowing download speeds. Avoid text in images that needs to be translated, and avoid culture-specific images such as mailboxes, which are not common around the world. Avoid religious, political, or gender-specific images. The display of flesh, body parts, or hand gestures can also be a sensitive topic.

  • Display numeric values, names, and addresses appropriately for global markets.

    Dates, times, numbers, calendars, currency, telephone numbers, units of measurement, and paper sizes are all items that can be displayed differently based on culture. The order in which family and given names are displayed, and the format of addresses, can differ as well. Use standard date, time, and number displays. Use standard date and time picker controls. Use standard address information.

  • Be aware when using color for meaning.

    Be mindful when using color to convey meaning. Color choices may need to be reviewed by culture experts for customization. And always convey the same information by some means other than color, such as size, shape, or a label, for the benefit of colorblind readers.



Build date: 9/20/2013