THINKTANK arrived in Grenoble in mid-July 2017. I have to say we did very little learning French, except for the basic necessary get along vocabulary. The mini book for French phrases went a long way and youtube video to learn French was also very good in understanding the pronunciation.
We had a few meeting with the local actors from business, accounts, government and astonishingly most of them spoke good English. Please note, these were the meeting’s which was pre-scheduled by those who knew we don’t speak much French. Once we started visiting local meetup’s we soon realised that to make a good impact with our product both the product and people from THINKTANK have to speak French.
Well, learning a language and communicating instantly is not like the movie MATRIX, so we went to the drawing board and looked at what we can do to make an impact and show that we care about the French market and we have done our best.
To start, we had a lot of experience in making international multi-lingual web portals in the past. However, the core assumption of CLAPPIO was that it needs to be language agnostic and the design has to appeal to the global audience. The Original CLAPPIO was good enough to let users participate without thinking about the language. What we missed was the user onboarding in the local language to make the initial impact.
At Grenoble, we realised that it was necessary to onboard end users in French and then we went ahead re-architected the whole front end with a new onboarding process in French. While we were at it, we also did Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Philipino and Korean.
Its Magic right, we went to solve a French problem and we nearly cracked the same problem with other markets as well.
Moral of the story: Yes, we have to design the product to appeal to the global audience, but we also have to make sure the onboarding process is as local as possible to get the initial traction.