Online Features and Functionality Preferred by Hispanics
When designing online campaigns for Hispanics, it is increasingly important to include the features and functionality that appeal to Hispanic users such as information sharing tools, search, and toggling between languages.
Provide Critical Features and Functionality or Manage Gaps Through Notification
Critical features and functionality tend to vary by company and online initiative. For example, the key piece of functionality for an online retailer is a shopping cart, for an airline, key functionality might be a booking engine or perhaps flight notification. Regardless of the objective of your website, the key is to identify the most important features and functionality and develop a plan for making them available on your Hispanic site. This includes understanding costs, resources, technology requirements, integration with other online programs and maintenance. At times, the integration of critical features and functionality may not be possible in the first phase of a Hispanic online marketing program. That said, it is important to make them available to Spanish speakers and manage any gaps in the user experience through notification. For example, many financial services websites do not provide transactional capabilities in Spanish but rather simply provide notification that these features are available in English-only. Some may simply then link off to the English website while others may provide the English features on the Spanish site. Regardless of execution, ongoing management of the user experience is critical through clear and prominent notification.
Functionality especially useful to online Hispanics
In addition to providing critical features and functionality as part of your Hispanic website, simple functionality such as “print this page”, “email this page” and “save this page” can be very beneficial to online Hispanics. Hispanics tend to make decisions collectively and this cultural truth is manifested online. Consider the scenario of a new car purchase. It is likely that a Hispanic mother be tasked with doing online research that will be used by the family group to make a final purchase decision. The Hispanic mom, who may prefer Spanish may ask her teenaged son to help her navigate various automotive brand sites which are only available in English. As they surf these sites together, toggle functionality and the comparability between Spanish and English sites become critical. It is likely that during the online shopping process, Hispanics online users will want to print, email or save certain pages to be used later as the family gets closer to a purchase to decision. By adding print, email and save functionality to your Hispanic website, you can facilitate the communal decision making of Hispanics and provide value to this audience.
As online Hispanics become more experienced Internet users, their usage of search, both on search engines and on other sites, is increasing. As a result, it is important the site-based search functionality be considered for a Hispanic website. As you plan for your Hispanic online marketing program, be sure to research your search utility to ensure it can support your Hispanic site. A common pitfall around site-based search is the inability for a search utility to handle accents. Research has shown that Hispanics may or may not use accents when they search, as such search utilities should be able to accept queries with or without accents and return results regardless of the accent.
Examples of Hispanic websites with key features and functionality
- Office Depot: Integrated Spanish shopping cart,
- Continental Airlines: Integrated Spanish booking engine
- El Navy: Print and email page functionality,
While providing access to critical features and functionality is recommended, we realize that this is often not possible due to technical, operational or budget constraints. We recommend that organizations consider ways to notify users about gaps in the experience and develop evolution plans for continuously enhancing Hispanic’s online experience through access to valuable features and functionality.