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Just to provide the context, there's a multi regional site setup as follows (using wordpress): - site.com/kr - site.com/tw

Each site currently only has one language, e.g. ko_KR for site.com/kr. Each site has the same content types, but serves different content, meaning the /kr site might have no content for a specific content type. There's also a site selector which then allows the user to switch to another regional site.

So here's the problem, a team mate is insisting that when switching to another regional site, users should not be landing on the homepage, but on the same path, e.g site.com/kr/something goes to site.com/tw/something. He says this should be the right behavior for good ux.

There's a few issues here which makes me believe it's more than a UX issue: - the content for the sites are different, so there's no guarantee that both path exists on each of the 2 sites. - there's no translation functionality to say e.g. post1 of site.com/kr is the source content of post6 on site.com/tw, vice versa.

I feel there's technically no content equivalence here (unlike mulitlanguage) between sites, thus landing on the homepage is expected when switching sites. I've seen examples from nike.com and samsung.com, both switch to the homepage of the regional site.

Is his request really true? If not, how can I convince or help him understand?

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I kind of understand the point both of you are making. My initial suggestion is that you create an alert Dialog (with a don't show again checkbox) that warns the user that if the content is not available in that language he will be redirected to the homepage. That way you could easily create a conditional statement in your code. For good UX the user should be able to cancel changing language. I get that your team mate believes that it's not good UX to just desert the progress the user has been making through your website by resetting him to the homepage. But I don't believe he realizes your point, as in there won't be much content that is the same.

  • Thanks for this. I appreciate you gave the dialog suggestion, I was thinking that if he insisted on, I could try to get him to use that. I do agree with you on the progress, but it's just that the site content and context wise is quite different, only similarity is just the design, so there isn't much of a progress to begin with. – hamahama Sep 8 '18 at 9:45
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Update: The question is about multiple regional sites sharing the same languages, not different languages. The same principles of navigation between languages should still apply.


I don't think your colleague is right. To convince your colleague, you can explain how the location of a language switch informs the users' expectations regarding navigation (see more explanation below).

Another argument would be to point out how bad the experience would be if a user repeatedly arrived on a 404 page because some content is missing in a target language, because you display the possibility to change to any language, regardless of the specific content being present.

Best practices for changing languages

When you locate the language change in the top bar, typically used for global navigation, the user will not expect to land on the exact same page. You can further manage the expectations of the user using microcopy: "go to korean website", rather than "use korean language".

If there are specific contents that exist in several languages, and you want to provide direct access to them, then the language switch option should be located in close proximity to this content (and display only the languages available for this content).

Example: Global Voices is a website available in multiple languages that handles this really well.

They have a top bar to navigate between languages that always land on the home page for this language. Contents are different on each home page

You have specific links within the content to translations in the available languages for this content.

Screenshot of Global Voices

In Wikipedia, the links to versions of the same articles in other languages are in the left sidebar.

Screenshot of Wikipedia

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    I believe this might have been more suited as a comment. You also don't seem to give him an answer on his question, although it might help him. – Philip RH Sep 5 '18 at 10:41
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    I agree with @PhilipRH. I don't see how it answers the question. – Mayo Sep 5 '18 at 13:15
  • I edited my answer to more specifically address the question. – celinelenoble Sep 5 '18 at 16:52
  • Thanks.The question was more on regional site change, the language of the site could be identical, e.g if there were Singapore to Australia, they would use en_GB as a site only has a primary language currently. Similar sites doing this are those listed as examples in my question. I also mentioned its not multilingual per regional site. It's not really about the language, is the question confusing? – hamahama Sep 8 '18 at 9:49
  • I understood "Each site has one language" as "Each site has a different language" not "all sites share the same language but address different regional audiences". I think you could apply the same principles of navigation to regional sites: top bar link navigation to go to another regional home page, local link to see the current article in the context of another regional site. I don't really see the benefit though to stay on the same article if the language is the same. – celinelenoble Sep 9 '18 at 1:15

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