14

Suppose my app may have multi language in the future, but currently has one language only. Should I hide the multi-language selection button/menu, in order to avoid a language menu with 1 item only?

Originally I want to show the multi language button with one language only (current language) in order to tell user that there may have other languages in the future. Is it reasonable?

  • 32
    Don't introduce or display a feature when it's not complete. Lol. – Yates Mar 7 '18 at 12:18
  • 1
    In line with @ThomasYates and Luciano, I favor keeping any sort of UI as clean and simple as possible. If you don't need it, don't include it. – Jeff Zeitlin Mar 7 '18 at 18:00
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    Sounds like election in soviet union. – Džuris Mar 8 '18 at 8:46
  • I agree with, well, pretty much everyone that it doesn't make much sense from a UX perspective to have the button. Playing devil's advocate for a minute, it may make development easier (-->faster-->cheaper) to leave the button there if it means, for example, that you won't have to redo the UI later, or come up with multiple layouts for now and for after there's a second language option. Of course, good dev practices would minimize that impact... – A C Mar 8 '18 at 10:56
  • @AC That's what git and development environments are for. It makes no sense to show something that doesn't work just because it's easier for you during development. Users are more important than your laziness.. A button to switch language shouldn't be the cause to change the header to something completely unrecognisable either. That's just bad design. – Yates Mar 8 '18 at 12:19
49

If there's only one option, what benefit does the user get by having this menu there? It will just add confusion: why can I not select a different language?

It's better to just add it once you have more than one language.

20

Firstly, I agree with what Luciano has mentioned. If the users don't have any choice, why make it seem like there is one? It's like advertising great offers that aren't in stock.

However, if what you want to do is communicate that the feature is in progress then...

Firstly I would ask you, how soon can you realistically deliver the other languages? If you can deliver them in a relatively short time then it might be acceptable that you display in "in progress" languages within the menu including a short text stating that you're working on it.

For example your menu might look like this:

CHOOSE LANGUAGE:

English
*Spanish (Disponible pronto)*
*French (Bientôt disponible)*

Etc...

With the "available soon" options grayed out.

I would only suggest this if your users are anticipating the feature already, from client-company rapport and feature requests, then it would be beneficial to provide a reassuring message that the feature is under development.

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    Wouldn't it be better to, instead, have (for example) a splash screen saying "new languages available" when they are actually available? If it's close to delivery sounds like a waste of time, if it's far it might create some anxiety... I feel like this type of progress should be communicated somewhere else (website / blog / twitter) – Luciano Mar 7 '18 at 11:53
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    @Luciano It's context sensitive. You could say yes it is better in a very general case where there is not a close connection between the software company and the users. But if his users are anticipating the feature already, from client-company rapport and feature requests, then it would be beneficial to provide a reassuring message that the feature is under development. – RobbyReindeer Mar 7 '18 at 12:38
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    It's like a loading screen. Users feel more comfortable when they know an operation is being carried out even if the feedback is distorted from reality. This we know! – RobbyReindeer Mar 7 '18 at 12:39
5

Absolutely hide the menu if there's only one option.

Applications offer numerous functions as part of their design. Adding a UI element that has no practical purpose only distracts the user from carrying out any one of the other function your application provides, and will also lead to mild frustration (i.e. if a native French speaker expands the language menu only to find English is the default and only option). Therefore, it's poor UX.

1

It depends on the context, do you have a good reason to show to the user this feature will be available in the future?

For example if there is a public beta phase to test user behavior / advertise the site / etc. but for some reason it's only possible to include one language. A big part of the target audience uses another language, and the publisher doesn't want the potential customers abandoning and forgetting the site thinking they can't use it in their language. In this case you should do like @RobE suggested, greyed out options and the text "available soon".

I don't think that showing unavailable features is so terribly far-fetched and weird, depending on the context. Online clothing stores often advertise their style in their website long before it's possible to actually buy anything.

0

The only situation I can imagine it is useful is if you have a large user base for another language and want to provide some sort of “Subscribe to be notified functionality”. Please notice it may now work with many languages.

E.g.

en ▾ (dropdown)
---    
english
---
spanish language will be available soon
Subscribe to be notified 
*Subscription form*
---

Otherwise it will only pollute the interface.

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