Conduent and 5 tips for creating a more world-ready website

Xerox recently spun off its services unit into a billion-dollar global company known as Conduent.

I took a quick look at the Conduent website to see how world-ready this “global” website had become in its very first iteration. And, spoiler alert, it’s clear that Conduent is only just getting started.

Here’s an excerpt of the home page:

And a close-up of the global gateway, such as it is:

Here’s a close-up of a Twitter excerpt on the home page:

What about mobile? Here’s the home page on a smartphone:

And the mobile menu:

Where’s the global gateway menu you might ask?

So I thought I’d put together a few tips that would be useful to Conduent — and any other company that is on the verge of expanding its website globally.

5 tips for creating a more world-ready website:

  1. Keep it lightweight. Already, Conduent is loaded with videos and large photographs that add significant “weight” in kilobytes to the web page. When thinking globally, companies need to think about slower mobile networks around the world and make sure that weight limits are in place to allow the website to display and respond quickly on these networks.
  2. Don’t just respond to mobile devices, respond to mobile customers. It’s nice that the mobile website does not default to animation (like the desktop site) but all we’re seeing now is a scaled-down version of the desktop website. Ideally, the mobile site supports mobile-specific usage scenarios, which isn’t yet evident here. I don’t see the global gateway on the mobile site — a rookie mistake, but one that really does punish mobile users who want to navigate to local content (when that content is available).
  3. Get your global gateway right the first time. In Conduent’s case, that means losing the American flag. I realize the circled flag is inspired by Apple, but Apple is on the wrong side of history on this one I’m afraid. Instead, Conduent should develop a text-only global gateway menu, which will scale more readily.
  4. Bake social into the design. Conduent does a nice job of highlighting its Twitter feed on its home page. Going forward, it’s important that Conduent support local-language Twitter (and other social) feeds that can be excerpted on the home page. By doing so, website visitors are more likely to discover the localized feeds and are more likely to engage with you.
  5. Think local by design content. Social content in the local language is a great beginning. But what about local language blogs and other content? Conduent does support a number of English-language blogs. It will be nice to see these blogs replicated in other markets, managed by local content creators.

For more insights into website globalization, check out the Web Globalization Report Card.

Marketing opportunities in the German blogosphere

Last week I gave a presentation about international Websites and how to position your offering in the Web 2.0 world. One of the questions that came up was: how many blogs are out there? And does it make sense to sponsor blogs or advertise on them?

Estimating the size of the German blogosphere

Intuitively, I was sure for the U.S., Japan and China, but I was not so sure about Germany. So I tried to find out the size of the German blogossphere and came with the following contradictory numbers:

  • Blogcensus is an effort to count all of the active German blogs and relies on manual inspection. Their estimate is app. 115.000 active blogs (an active blog means at least a post per month). I think this is way too low.
  • The German magazine Focus claims to have counted app. 1.1 million German blogs. But I think this is way too high.
  • Technorati’s “State of the Blogosphere” counted 50 millions blogs in 2006 and claims that app. 1% of blog posts were in German. With the bold assumption that the blogging frequency is the same globally, this would result in app. 500.000 blogs in German. This seems to me to be a more realistic estimate (and in line with other guestimates of other sources).

Going forward with Technorati’s numbers let’s compare the relative sizes of the blogospheres in the following countries:

Size of blogospheres

Although the numbers are from 2006, I believe that the relative comparison between the different blogospheres are still true, nevertheless.

With the assumption that app. 10% of the internet users are aware of blogs and potentially read them, the relationship of writers to readers is skewed in the German blogosphere: there are many more readers than bloggers.

Consequences for international Web marketing

  • In absolute and relative numbers that the German blogosphere is very, very small. It is on par with Farsi, which might overtake German in the near future: there are only 72 million people who speak Farsi compared to app. 98 million German speaking people.
  • Capturing a large part of the German blogosphere is easier than in other languages, because there are fewer bloggers per potential reader.
  • Other blogospheres are much larger in relation to the number of their internet users. For example the Japanese, Chinese, English or Italian blogosphere are much larger (4x to 24x times!). And blogs there are likely to attract many more visitors, too. Competition for readers is likely to be fierce in these languages.

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