We are creating a language dialog that suggest the user to change language based on the set browser language. E.g. if someone with browserlanguage ch-de visits our English website, a dialog at the top is displayed that suggest the user to switch to German.

Should we save the user's changed language in a cookie for future visits? So that the same user visiting tomorrow is automatically directed to the translated page instead of the English?

What are the cons and pros of this?

2 Answers 2


Since you're using a dialog box to ask the user to switch language, you can add a check-box in it "Remember my language preference for future visits". This way you are giving the user the autonomy to select if he wants you to save the language preference or not.

  • But that's the method. I'm wondering about whether it's user friendly or not. Because if we save the preference (for example German). Should we re-direct the user to their language of preference when they browse to a specific page in English?
    – user28829
    Apr 29, 2013 at 15:05
  • @user28829 My bad, I did not read carefully. By redirecting to German page, do you mean you have all the pages in multiple languages? If yes, then it makes sense to redirect them to the German page, but the URL should remain the same.
    – rk.
    Apr 29, 2013 at 15:07

A computer is wonderful at remembering things for their user. Besides doing calculations, the ability to remember information is one of the primary features of any computer system.

If a user tells their computer something, about a certain preference, it would be expected that the computer would be able to remember this. Never build a computer interface that forgets vital information like a language preference.

It should be noted however that it has to be clear how to make the computer forget that preference as well. Perhaps you set it to French accidentally and actually prefer English.

If the information that is to be stored is sensitive in any way, allow the user to tell the computer to not remember it. Language preferences will usually not be considered sensitive.

  • Will a saved language preference be user friendly when the user searches for our website a second time, finds it in google, clicks the result that is in english and then sees the page in German? Even with the language preference set, is that abiding to user expectations?
    – user28829
    Apr 29, 2013 at 23:11
  • I would say yes. Taking their language preference into account is a service to the user. They will not suddenly prefer a different language because they came in via Google. However, it should be explained what happened. You could add "redirected from English page" to the top of the page, and make the word "English" a link back to the original page. Apr 30, 2013 at 6:05

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