Designing UAE Culture Specific Websites: How To Move?

29 Apr 2015

A user takes just 7 seconds to decide whether to stay at a website or leave it. What is the most compelling factor for such a quick decision? It is the design of the website, the elements, colors, headings, an overall look that helps the user’s decision of staying or leaving the site. A website should be that much impressive and convincing to grab the attention of the users in initial 7 seconds. The first most important aspect is whether the website is culture-specific, catering to the specific cultural needs of the target audience, because a single wrong message can destroy the business image. Hiring experts can help solving such problems.

For Dubai-based businesses, it is not easy to find firms offering culture-specific web designing services. GO-Gulf-Dubai website design stands apart from the crowd with its tailored services. Here is given a thorough analysis of UAE culture specific website design, the points followed by experts at GO-Gulf Dubai.

UAE Culture

Getting Started With Culture-Specific Website Designing

As the places are different so are the people and their mental approaches. While designing for some specific culture, keep the following points in mind.

Research about local brands!

Search for local brands, dealing in the same business, and know how they present things in the web design and how they sell.

Know the market!

Ask from your colleagues, suppliers, and partners about the local market trends. You will surely get some cultural input to integrate into the website design strategy. Make sure that the people you are talking to are part of the same culture.

Think about negotiable design elements!

Using a global template and tailoring that for some specific culture needs attention. Know about the brand assets that are flexible. Colors, content, grids, and alignment can be made as per preferences of the target audience.

Test it first!

Before making the website live, test that. Avoid assumptions related to different design elements; testing is crucial for a workable responsive web design.

Use proven versions!

What has already been successful in target audience in terms of web designing software should be used. Show flexibility in web designing approach.

Key Considerations For UAE Culture Specific Web Design

World is becoming a global village and catering to the needs of target audiences from diverse cultural backgrounds is a challenge for web designing firms. Term website localization is used for updating a website for some specific culture or the target audience. It requires programming expertise and culture knowledge of the target customers. Have a glimpse of the main points to be considered while designing culture specific websites in general, and targeting Middle East and UAE audience in particular.

Also Read – Infographic Dubai In Numbers

Language/Content- The First Important Consideration

English has become a universal language, but there might be people in UAE who prefer some other languages, specifically Arabic, the common native language. There should be the translation facility at the website. It is not easy to translate the entire content into Arabic, as many factors need to be considered.

Check for the words, phrases, metaphors, whether they are tailored for the target language. If there is humor used in the website content, know whether that is acceptable or understandable by the UAE audience. To target the diverse Arabic speaking audience, use modern standard Arabic language in the translator. The vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation should be according to the taste of the target UAE audience, like for business personals, professionals, or foreign business owners. For a young audience, a relaxed Arabic tone can be used. Wrong language for wrong audience could be disastrous for the website success.

Most of the UAE-based websites do not have enough information for the target audience, which may need re-consideration as per user needs. While translating the website content from English to Arabic, do consider whether the entire information is presented or not. Is the concept clear for the target site users? Use better and understandable alternatives of the technical terms.

Images – Convey The Message Appropriately

An image speaks a thousand words provided it is used as per perceptions of the target audience. Similar images may carry diverse meanings in different cultures. Many image types in West might not be appropriate if used in the UAE culture specific websites. The negative connotations associated with images used at a website may repel the site visitors or the business prospects. Images carrying scantily clad women, boozing, dancing figures etc., might not receive a positive and favorable response from the UAE-specific web audience.

Symbols – Avoid Possible Problems

Just like images, same symbols have different meanings in different cultures. Using fingers for victory sign or OK message may be taken differently in different cultures. Similarly, using animal symbols might bring embarrassment for the site owners, like pigs are considered unclean in UAE and other Middle East countries whereas cow is sacred in Indian culture. UAE is home to different cultures, so beware of any symbols used in website designing.

Coloring The Web Design – Know The Hidden Meanings

While using colors at websites targeting UAE audience, know about the meanings associated with them. Wrong colors at the logo or background can be worst for the business image in UAE. The best strategy is to avoid using colors having contradicting meanings in different cultures. At present, blue and green colors dominate website designing of Arabic universities. White is also a common choice of UAE web designers. Different colors have different meanings in Arab countries. Have a glimpse!

  • Red stands for danger and caution.
  • Orange depicts mourning or loss.
  • Yellow is linked with prosperity and happiness.
  • Blue represents safety and protection. It is linked with spirituality and immortality.
  • Green is associated with religion, reflecting strength, luck, and fertility.
  • Purple stands for wealth and virtue.
  • Brown reflects a connection with earth and comfort.
  • Black is meant for rebirth and mourning.
  • White is linked with purity, mourning, and high status.

Pick the right colors as per business type and the perceptions of the target users.

Website Navigation – Consider User Preferences

While deciding about website navigation for UAE-based web designs, consider what users want. Horizontal navigation and large count of links are popular trends in Arabic university websites.

A common issue linked with website navigation is translation. Arabic, unlike other foreign languages, is written from right to left. Translating the website language from English to Arabic may give rise to the available space issue. It may affect the website navigation. Do consider this aspect while designing websites for UAE audience.

For a hierarchical culture, login requirement to access the website might be considered positive while for a free culture, it is not welcomed.

Culture affects everything; thinking, hearing, and reading. Website designing is no exclusion as websites are meant to target certain audience, so considering their specific cultural constraints is crucial to enjoy success. Consider the above-mentioned points while designing websites for UAE audience. Share your experiences or understanding of the UAE culture and the preferences of the local website users.

Image Credits: weyana.ae