Adobe’s redesigned global gateway overlay

Adobe pioneered the use of geolocation and localized overlays to improve the global user experience.

As shown here, a visitor to the Adobe.com home page from Japan was greeted with the following overlay:

The overlay allows the visitor to click through to the English-language .com website, as intended, or re-navigate to the Japan home page. The overlay improves the discoverability of localized websites.

Last year, Adobe updated the design as follows:

The most notable change is the addition of a flag icon. Readers of this blog know well my now my thoughts on using flags for navigational purposes — that is, avoid them if possible.

To be clear, flags are not being used within Adobe’s global gateway menu, which is where I always advise flags to be avoided. But within the limited scenario of these overlays, flags may very well improve usability (I’ve not tested them), though I would continue to favor avoiding them. Perhaps it’s just me, but why does one country get a flag and the other not get a flag? Picky, I realize. But that’s the thing about flags — they draw attention to themselves in ways that I don’t believe benefit global or local usability.

The good news is that Adobe continues to rely on overlays, which not only improves usability but also the discoverability of local websites. More companies could and should learn from this approach.

PS: Adobe ranked #8 overall in the 2024 Web Globalization Report Card.

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