I need some accessibility and usability advice for a website. I am a designer volunteering for a non-profit and is my team (product manager and three developers).

I am working on a site where my product manager and client wants the site to be "bilingual"(Spanish/English) using ONE site, not two separate sites. The reason for making one site is due to timing and features prioritization. Our developers are learning how to code in Wordpress.

I suggested doing one language first, Spanish. Our target audience is 80% Spanish speakers. The other target audience is English speakers. I voiced my concerns about the two languages taking up real estate. Plus, I have some concerns with scannability of the website. Not all the website is bilingual, some pages are and some pages are not. It's a small website.

  • Have anyone come across this issue?
  • Do you have any recommendations or articles to make an inform decisions?

It's three pages:

  • Homepage - Bilingual
  • About - English
  • Upload - Bilingual
  • Nav - I want to be one language.
  • Login - Bilingual

Thank you!

  • couple of questions before I can give you some tailored advice and consideration topics: 1) are you designing a static page (where content is added once by a developer) or a CMS? 2) will the content be added only by the authors (i.e. articles), or can there also come some readers' comments? 3) are there any plans for a discussion board? My experience on quick and dirty solutions say that those are seldom quick and the dirt remains for a long time.
    – Mike
    Nov 15, 2018 at 10:49
  • 1) CMS Wordpress 2) Users will upload images, and Admin will approve the images 3) Possibly. It will be added in a later update. Nov 28, 2018 at 21:12

2 Answers 2


If time and budget are an issue, making two sites and swapping out the text is actually the most efficient. Just adding a link in the menubar to each costs almost no effort.

But making one site that uses both languages on the same page will cost more time to design because you have to shape about twice as much content. Plus you'll repeat yourself a lot, plus the English will alienate Spanish readers and vice versa.

Plus, what if you want more languages in the future? Those tiny-lettered medicine booklets come to mind.

Also, keep in mind that if you start with a single site 'for now' and later split it up you will throw away all the work on that layout because it'll feel different (and likely far too empty) with half the content. So that's a huge waste of resources.

Also, consider multiple sites (be it via different domains, subdomains, or a button or cookies or whatever) as a good jumpoff for localized information. Not just translations, but actual content, for example; newspost for new product launch on different dates for local/international customers.

In the end you'll be off the cheapest by investing a bit of effort upfront in a good multilanguage plugin or custom solution, compared with having double maintenance (for two separate but almost identical sites) or having wasted effort (if you plan on reworking in the future anyway).


If @pixelsnader doesn't convince you to have separate pages for languages and if you absolutely need to create one page that has multiple languages, since one of the tags on this question was accessibility, I will point out that you need to specify the lang attribute to ensure that a screen reader will switch dialects/accents when it reads the different languages.

You can specify one language for the whole page, probably Spanish in this case, and then any parts of the page that are in English, you'll need the lang attribute. If you can put all the English parts into one container, it'll be easier. So something like this:

<html lang="es">

  <!-- all the Spanish stuff -->

  <!-- all the English stuff -->
  <div lang="en">

  <!-- could me more Spanish stuff -->

  <!-- maybe more English stuff -->
  <div lang="en">


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