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How UX design may benefit from cross cultural awareness?

Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2019

I read a story on Medium recently that shared a UX designer's experience in developing an App for a client in Russia, a culture which he was not familiar with.  Most UX designers assume that their design will be universal as long as the Language translation is in place. There are a few other factors that must be taken into account when working with an international client.  In the story the author referred to the Trompenaars theory  “The Seven Dimensions of Culture,” a model he published in “Riding the Waves of Culture.” The model is the result of interviews with more than 46,000 managers in 40 countries. 

  • Use of Words and Graphics.  Every language uses typography that applies the required weight, emphasis to the information that is intended to communicate. It is essential to review this aspect along with the language translation process. 

  • Knowledge about Target Demographic. While this factor is an obvious one as it influences the user experience, different cultures approach authority and relationship dynamics differently. For example, in many cultures, the demonstration of an older person in an image depicts that s/he may be an authority figure. 
  • Cultural Nuances with use of Color. Various cultures use color schemes differently too. For instance, the use of dark green in Islamic cultures as it is considered religious and lucky.  

Designing technology with a lack of cross-cultural awareness lead to a loss in time and resources with low returns as the UX experience will not be empathetic to the target audience.  It is worth your while to invest time in conducting research on the UX culture profile as you roll out your app.  Reference-

The Complete Guide to Cross Cultural Design by Jônatas Vieira

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Hi Somya I enjoy reading your articles and shares. I value your focus areas as I too work in Learning , Research and Development within Organizations. My industry is Higher Edu.
I wrote my thesis on "What is it like to design with cultural identity in mind?" and developed a special digital project, designed a prototype demonstrating thesis. I would love to dive into further conversations, learn from your experience. Looking forward to what's next! Greetings from Central Texas!
Hi Vanessa,
Thank you for the note. I am glad that you find value in reading my contributions here. I would like to gain your insight on your thesis and how it shaped you as an ID professional. Feel free to drop me a line to meet [email protected] or add me on LinkedIN :)
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