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I'm currently designing a website for a global company with multiple market sites (website.com, website.co.uk, website.ru etc). Some markets also have multiple languages (website.be can be browsed in dutch, german and french for example).

The user should therefore have the possibility to change language within the same market site or change to another market site.

How do I achieve this without it being confusing to the user? Are there any good examples of how this can be solved?

I've done some benchmarking but most sites either have a country selector or a language selector, not both.

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    I hate when I select a non-english speaking country and the site doesn't let me change just the language to english. – Luciano Feb 3 at 12:15
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It's probably makes more sense to let the user choose countries, with multiple options for countries where multiple languages are used.

Services today have many personalisations based on user locale. This includes, among other things, pricing, currency, privacy policies and additional terms of service etc. Amazon for example, has a different set of products for people based in US vs those outside US. Using the visitor's IP address, they can be redirected to the most appropriate version of the site.

Once the country is set, your service has made the necessary changes to the site. the language is only the last layer on top.

As a user, I can also choose to type in another country's url/ site. Here's how Apple handles this:

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Apple is offering to send me to the Australian version of their site, because I am visiting them from Australia.

For multiple languages within a single country, you can offer multiple options. For example, in the case of Belgium:

  • België (Dutch)
  • Belgique (French)

Browser settings can also help us make an educated guess about the visitor's preferred language.

To summarise, there should be a single affordance for both country and language selection. Choose a country and language for the user, with options available to switch to another country/ language.

Disclaimer: I know nothing about your product, so my answer doesn't have the full context.

  • Funny enough, a lot of websites that have country/language options separate only offer Dutch when you select The Netherlands as a country (e.g. Amazon). Quite irritating... – Luciano Feb 3 at 12:20
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Using a combination of IP, browser settings e.t.c, you should be able to auto-detect what combination is best for each unique user. Despite that, we still need to allow for user freedom.

This may be harder to answer without seeing the design you currently have, all the same, I would suggest having the language switcher at the top right as most sites do, and then you can have the website variations at the footer.

enter image description here

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