Webflow is paving the way for a revolution in website localization. Through its innovative localization solution, Webflow is empowering businesses to offer tailored digital experiences to audiences across multiple languages and regions.
This article presents an in-depth look at Webflow's upcoming localization product, its importance, and how it's set to enhance the web design and development landscape.
The Advent of Webflow's Localization Solution
In a recent update following their announcement at the Webflow Conf 2022, Webflow has confirmed that their eagerly anticipated localization product is on track for release this fall 2023. This solution is a testament to Webflow's commitment to enhancing the user experience and expanding the impact of the websites created with its platform.
Webflow's localization product is designed to address a critical need in today's globalized digital landscape — the ability to customize websites to cater to diverse regional audiences. As businesses increasingly operate beyond borders, the importance of adapting websites to meet the unique needs of different regions cannot be overstated.
Localization vs. Multilingual: A Webflow Perspective
While localization and multilingual may seem synonymous, Webflow clarifies that "multi-language" is simply a facet of the broader concept of "localization". More than mere translation of website text, localization encompasses personalizing the complete website experience — from the images and content displayed to the overall styles and layout — to resonate with different regional audiences.
In light of this broader perspective, Webflow's localization product is designed to provide an end-to-end solution for customizing websites for multi-language visitors. The product is built upon three foundational pillars:
- Design & construction: This involves adjusting designs and content to suit all locales.
- Content & translation: This includes translating site content for all locales or integrating third-party specialized translation management systems.
- Publication & delivery: This entails controlling how localized content is published and delivered to website visitors.
Design & Construction
The design and construction phase is arguably the most critical aspect of the localization process. This is where Webflow's localization product stands out, allowing users to harness the full power of Webflow to create localized websites.
Users can expect the following features at launch:
- Locale Preview: Users can preview and switch between locales in the Designer, ensuring a clear understanding of the site's appearance before publishing.
- Content Localization: Users can translate both static page and CMS content directly for each locale.
- Image and Alt Text Customization: Users can customize images per locale and alter the alt text, ensuring a localized visual experience.
- Element Visibility Customization: Users can hide or show certain elements per locale, allowing for content variation based on the visitor's region.
- Style Customization: Users can tweak styles per locale to adjust for different length headlines, fonts, and more.
Content & Translation
Webflow offers a flexible approach to content translation, catering to businesses at different stages of their localization journey. From direct translation in the Designer to integration with existing translation management systems, Webflow's solution provides multiple options.
At launch, users can translate content using the following methods:
- Direct Translation in the Designer: For granular control and edits, users can directly translate content in the Designer.
- Flexible API Options: For businesses with existing translation management systems, Webflow offers updated APIs that allow for programmatic connection to external systems.
- Machine-Powered Translation: Webflow is developing automatic translation options to streamline localization.
- Partner Translation Apps: Webflow plans to build direct integrations with translation management systems at launch.
Publishing & Delivery
When it comes to publishing localized websites and controlling visitor experience, Webflow's localization product offers more fine-tuned control than third-party workarounds.
Key features for publishing include:
- Locale Publishing Toggle: Users can control whether different locales go live upon site publication.
- Customization of URLs and Subdirectories: Users can customize the URL structure of localized pages for improved SEO.
- Localization of SEO Titles and Descriptions: Users can localize meta titles and descriptions for each locale.
- Upgraded Sitemap: The sitemap will automatically include the hreflang tag to help search engines understand the relationship between localized pages.
- Fully Customizable Locale Switcher Element: A new element will allow users to design a language switcher for visitors.
- Integration with Publishing and Staging: All workflows will be fully integrated into existing and future publishing workflows for a seamless experience.
The Road Ahead
Webflow's localization product promises a significant enhancement to the web design and development landscape. The company has announced that Enterprise customers will have early access to the product, with a broader rollout expected soon.
As the world awaits this new wave of innovation, it's clear that with its localization product, Webflow is reshaping the future of web design and development.