Software as a Service (SaaS) is turning out to be the most sought-after form of service, where the conventional idea of buying a software and loading it into your system is gone. We have stepped into an era where we get software as a service, i.e., working predominantly on a software subscription model.
With the spreading of its wings, the need for more companies to make their presence felt on the internet has become a matter of urgent importance. With a lot of top selling legacy software turning to SaaS, the change of working model has seen a significant increase in the recent years. The need to be prepared for global markets has increased as much as the urgency.
To be ready to present themselves in the global market, SaaS companies need to make an impact in different countries. When the question of ‘What do SaaS companies need for the global market?’comes up, the answer comes in multiple parts.
The first, and most obvious, issue being language. For a business service to reach out to the international market, it is important that SaaS be available in the local language of those countries. Now, is it sufficient that the language scenario is fixed? No, it isn’t. Beyond just translation from the source language to the native language, it is also important that the content and the references must be in relation to the local scenario. For example, when the talk about social media giant, Facebook, is in order, the same context may not be usable in the Chinese Market as Facebook is banned in China.
So, for companies trying to expand their phoenix wings out of one country and looking at customers across the globe, it is important to localize their software-as-a-service.
Here are a few points on how to plan for localization while developing a global SaaS product.
#1 The structure of your screen needs to be planned. It is important that the various menu and labels on your screen are placed and planned for languages wherein the words may be relatively bigger or smaller than the text in English. It is best practise to use the entire word. Usage of abbreviations must be avoided as far as possible.
#2 Alignment of text. Sometimes, the languages that are used on the screen may not be unidirectional. So, it is important to plan alignment in different multi-direction scripts. Keep in mind, it is important that you do not associate a certain language with a country’s flag as some languages are common to more than one country and sometimes one language has different dialects in different countries.
#3 Money Matters. Now, most of SaaS are free to a certain point beyond which a certain amount needs to be paid to continue using the premium features. So, it would be a matter of significant importance to localize the currency when the content is in a set language.
It is important that you check the authenticity of the translation of words, to see if they sound and mean the same as they do in English.
Apart from languages, it adds a lot of value to allow multiple payment options. Reiterating #3, it is also important to keep in mind that the format of numbers is different across the different parts of the globe. While some countries use a comma, other countries may use a full stop. Also, different regions have their specific preferences when it comes to payment options. While some choose to use Visa or Mastercard, other regions may choose to use credit or debit cards.
One other important factor is that many people tend to underestimate the value of a good, user friendly UI. While it may be fairly tempting to highlight the technicalities and specifications, user friendliness attracts and retains users. At every step in the user interface design, it is important to balance functionality, utility and efficiency.
Keep these pointers in mind and watch your SaaS climb up the ladder in the Global Market.
Extract from: Role of Languages in SAAS – Mayflower Language Services