Creating a Culturally Responsive Website

Be My Eyes
September 29, 2015
Space Camp for Children with Disabilities
October 13, 2015

Day by day, the US is becoming more and more linguistically diverse; in light of this, it is essential that companies make sure that their websites are designed to meet the needs of a variety of different cultures.  Your company’s goal should be to make sure that your website is as accessible as possible for every different type of consumer; this includes patrons with limited English proficiency (LEP). Ensuring that your company’s website is culturally attuned for LEPs could be the deciding factor between whether a customer decides to use your company’s products or venture elsewhere.

Suggestions for creating a culturally responsive website that effectively meets the needs of LEPs:

  • First, you must let go of archaic ways of doing things and embrace a more modern approach to website accessibility/design.
  • Second, you should keep an open mind and review your company’s website to see if it is truly culturally responsive.
  • Next, it is important that you become familiar with the differences that exist between cultures. For example, Hispanic cultures often place a strong emphasis on family; therefore, you should focus on connecting with the patron’s family structure as a whole.
  • Culturally diverse households usually include family members that are bilingual and family members that prefer to use his/her native language. Adding electronic translators to your website will help make your website more accessible for the entire household; which in turn, will help make your website more “family friendly”.
  • Keep in mind that languages have different grammatical rules and etc. For example, when accommodating native Spanish speakers, you should remember that the Spanish language is a wordier language than English; therefore, you should make sure that the translating device you choose incorporates grammatical rules associated with the various different languages and that it doesn’t just translate word for word. This step will help ensure clear communication between company and patron.
  • Make sure that the images on your website demonstrate a variety of cultures; this will ensure that patrons from a variety of different backgrounds feel welcomed and comfortable versus isolated.
  • Include a variety of different colors on your site. This simple change will instantaneously enhance the visual appeal of the site and attract a variety of different consumers.
  • One of your primary goals is to keep the patron’s attention. One way to do this is by making sure that the wording on the site is simple and straight to the point. A wordy website is not only time consuming and frustrating, but it will also succeed in losing the attention of both LEP consumers and consumers who speak English as a native language.

Ultimately, because of the rapid growth of both cultural diversity and modern technology, now more than ever, it is extremely important that business owners make sure that they create a website that is culturally responsive to a variety of different cultures. Increasing a website’s accessibility is not only a smart business decision, but it’s also a necessary component when developing a strong ethical foundation for your company.