I have a site in 6 languages and I want to do something creative and not use flags. Ideally it'd be an icon and message to change language which opens an overlay with all languages available, but say I'm in Germany and I don't speak German, what would you put as an icon or message to let user know they can change language?

If there are better ways to solve this I'd like to hear them too!

  • 2
    Found this.. looks like exactly what you are looking for.. dont want to do flags.. then review this.. languageicon.org
    – PK2016
    Mar 4, 2016 at 18:53

2 Answers 2


Flags are a common construct and you might find your usability go down if you try to do something different and therefore unrecognizable. This could be very cool to test, though! If you really don't want a flag, a globe is a reasonable option with the current language beside it and a clear drop down arrow or some other visual affordance that indicates to users that they can change the language.

I highly, highly recommend keeping the language switcher at the top of the page, because it is where users expect to find it. And for good localization practice, always remember to use the language name in the language itself! "Deutsch" instead of "German." :)

http://www.apple.com/lu/ Bottom of page. Flag in a circle ;) This was hard to find though, so keep top of page in mind.
http://america.aljazeera.com No flag, but at the top and a drop down caret


The question is, are you changing the interface language? Or are you offering a localized version? If localized, I would offer a country switcher using a flag as symbol. If it's an interface language switch, I would use a globe symbol and place the dropdown top right.

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