Imagine an experience with product descriptions that can vary by language. How would you enable users to choose their language of choice, causing the descriptions to update appropriately?
With Intuiface, you can create such an experience using either Intuiface Headless CMS or the Excel Interface Asset. (In theory, you could create this experience using any third-party content management system - thanks to Intuiface's native support for Web APIs - but use of Headless CMS and Excel are easily the most straightforward.)
Choosing between Intuiface Headless CMS and Excel
The advantage of Headless CMS is you do not need Composer to make changes to the content, and you only have to make changes once regardless of how many devices are in the field. All content entry and updates are performed via a web browser.
With Excel, each individual device in the field has its own copy of the Excel spreadsheet plus any associated media, so updates typically mean using Composer to make changes, republishing the experience, then redeploying the experience. It's a lot more work! The one advantage vs. Headless CMS is an Excel-based experience can be offline 100% of the time. With Headless CMS, occasional network connectivity is required.
This article will discuss both options. The methods described below can be applied to graphic content as well as to text.
Using Headless CMS
Intuiface Headless CMS (H-CMS) makes it possible to separate the layout and structure of an experience from the actual content. In fact, users of Headless CMS can manage experience content without even knowing what the experience looks like.
Variants are a unique feature of H-CMS. Variants enable you to specify multiple values for the same data field. This means you don't have to create a different data table for each variation, you can just specify the value of individual data fields for a given variation.
Variants can be used to represent any variable concept, like language.
Read all about variants to understand how they work and can be applied.
Example of using Headless CMS for language selection
Let's say you want to build a food ordering kiosk for a restaurant serving both English and Spanish speaking customers.
To represent an individual menu item using Headless CMS, you would create a collection comprised of data fields like Name, Price, Description.
Then you'd create a Variant called "Language" and assign it two variations, one for each language - "English", "Spanish".
Tag the Description data field with the Language variant. Then, when entering data for each menu item, assign both an English and a Spanish value for the Description field. Notice how the product name and image don't have variations, just the description.
In your Intuiface experience, enable visitors to identify their language preference. Use this selection to determine which variation you'd like to apply to the data feed. Your experience doesn't need to do any filtering. The H-CMS base is filtered and then the data is passed to the experience.
Reminder: Watch the recording of our Boost your Intuiface Experiences with Excel webinar to learn all the basics about using Excel with Intuiface.
First, create a worksheet containing the list of languages. We will use this list to generate buttons enabling users to select their preferred language.
This sheet will have 2 columns:
- Icons (optional): to represent the language in the experience
Next add a second worksheet to your Excel workbook that will contain the text for each language you want to use in your project. If you plan to have quite a big project, with many scenes, you can create several sheets to better organize your content. One worksheet per scene could be a good approach.
This worksheet will have one Language column and one column for each item that will be represented by multiple languages. Each row will correspond to one language.
Drag-and-drop onto Composer, in Edit Mode, both the Excel file and (if applicable) the folders containing referenced images.
As you build your experience, bind each Text Asset to the appropriate column in the first row of the Excel spreadsheet.
Do the same for Image Assets.
Then create a Languages selection menu using the first Languages worksheet of the Excel workbook.
Language selection involves calling the Add filter action. Doing so will put the appropriate language in the first row of the spreadsheet.
And here is the result in Play mode.
You can download a sample experience illustrating the above approach with Excel by clicking this link
Video Explanation - Using Headless CMS variants to create multi-language experiences.
You will find in the Quarterly Q&A Fall Edition 2023 video more information regarding how to use the H-CMS variants to create multi-language experiences.