Boeing and the trouble with flags in global gateways

Examine the Boeing global gateway below and see if you can see a problem:

boeing_flags

I did not realize the Middle East had an official flag but, according to this gateway, it does.

And herein lies a major problem with using flags — they’re not well suited to regional websites.

Apple has a similar problem as illustrated by its Latin American flags:

apple_flags_16

So what’s the solution?

Stop using flags for global navigation.

It’s quite simple actually.

And, yes, I do believe that Apple will drop flags from its website. Eventually.

For more on this, check out The Art of the Global Gateway.

Tiffany: The best luxury website of 2016

This year, we benchmarked the following seven luxury websites for the 2016 Web Globalization Report Card:

  • Burberry
  • Cartier
  • Gucci
  • Hermès
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Tiffany

Out of these websites Tiffany emerged on top, largely because of its investment in global ecommerce.

Most luxury brands have been late to embrace ecommerce and, even now, have a long ways to go in terms of web localization and usability.

These websites average only 10 languages, which is a major reason why they lag most other global websites. And global navigation is also a problem for most websites, as is support for mobile devices.

But Tiffany is the leader in this category in global navigation. Tiffany uses geolocation to ensure that you are directed to your localized website, assuming it’s available. It displays the following overlay to first-time visitors:

tiffany_geo

Here is the same overlay, localized for German website visitors to the same .com domain:

tiffany_geo_de

This may seem like a minor detail, but it makes a significant impact to customer experience and ultimate conversion.

Tiffany also supports a mobile-friendly website design, though the gateway is poorly located in the footer. Burberry also buries its global gateway link in the footer, as shown here on the German home page:

burberry_2016

For users who don’t speak German, this gateway link is not going to be easy to find. A globe icon would greatly improve usability — something that fashion brands have yet to implement.

In terms of global reach, Tiffany is tied for number one in languages with Hermès. But fashion brands still are not even halfway to reaching the baseline for “global” websites. As shown here, the average number of languages supported by the leading global brands is now 30:

Average number of languages supported by leading global websites: 2016 Web Globalization Report Card
Average number of languages supported by leading global websites: 2016 Web Globalization Report Card

As luxury brands embrace ecommerce, they must also embrace fundamental global usability practices, such as user friendly global gateways, support for country codes, fast-loading mobile websites, and depth of localized content.

2016 Report Card

Nike improves its global gateway

Nike made an important improvement to its global gateway over the past year that I want to draw your attention to.

First, let’s take a look at the home page, circa 2015:

nike_com_2015

If you look closely at the bottom of the web page, to the left, you’ll see the American flag — the link to the global gateway menu.

Clearly, this is not the most visible location for a global gateway. Footers are for legalese and other garbage — not for your most important global navigation interface.

Fortunately, Nike has since promoted the gateway link to the header, as shown here today:

nike_2016

As the flag itself, I recommend using a globe icon instead, alongside the locale name.

But progress is progress and the promotion of the global gateway into the header is one reason why Nike made it into the top 25 best global websites.

For more information, check out the 2016 Web Globalization Report Card.

Deloitte: The best global professional services website of 2016

For the 2016 Web Globalization Report Card, we studied five professional services websites:

  • Accenture
  • Capgemini
  • Deloitte
  • Ernst & Young
  • KPMG
  • PWC

This is the first year in some time that none of the professional services websites made it into the top 25. This is largely due to the fact that these sites offer poor or uneven support for mobile devices, and a number of global gateways are poorly implemented.

That said, Deloitte emerged on top overall. While KPMG leads with 37 languages, Deloitte supports an impressive 34 languages overall.

Deloitte recently launched a new design, which is both responsive and globally consistent, as shown below with Australia and Russia:

deloitte_au

deloitte_ru

 

Notice the globe icon for the global gateway in the upper right corner. This is a relatively new — and positive — addition. To see how it improves usability (if you don’t speak Chinese) try finding the global gateway on the China home page below.

deloitte_cn

Clicking on this icon brings up this gateway:

Screen Shot 2016-09-11 at 11.46.46 AM

This gateway still needs a bit of work. A lengthy pull-down menu is not advisable. An overlay that displays all options is preferable so users in, say, the United Kingdom are saved the quite lengthy bit of scrolling.

Also worth noting is Deloitte’s emphasis on “trending content” on the home page — a great way to engage visitors and encourage repeat visits.

Now let’s take a look at Capgemini, which is notable for its embrace of social networking and local content. Here is an excerpt from the German home page:

capgemini_de

Capgemini still needs to do more work on its gateway. It’s located in the footer and, as shown here, is hidden behind the cookies notification menu. Do not make this mistake with your website!

capgemini_de_gateway

To learn more, check out the 2016 Web Globalization Report Card.