Cultural Dimensions and Global Web Design Essay

6235 Words Feb 6th, 2011 25 Pages
Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc. California and New York California 1144 65th Street, Suite F Emeryville, CA 94608-1053 USA

Tel: 510-601-0994 Fax: 510-547-6125 E-mail: Mail@AMandA.com Web: www.AMandA.com

Cultural Dimensions and Global Web Design: What? So What? Now What?
This paper introduces dimensions of culture, as analyzed by Geert Hofstede in his classic study of cultures in organizations, and considers how they might affect user-interface designs. Examples from the Web illustrate the cultural dimensions.

Experience Intelligent Design
User Interfaces Information Visualization

Cultural Dimensions and Global Web Design

Introduction

Aaron Marcus, President Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc. 1144 65th Street, Suite F
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Different cultures look for different data to make decisions.

© Copyright 2001 AM+A. This document is confidential and proprietary. AM+A.CultDim.pdf

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Cultural Dimensions and Global Web Design

A New Issue for User-Interface Designers

A New Issue for User-Interface Designers
In most projects, the complex interplay of user, business, marketing, and engineering requirements needs to be resolved by Web user-interface and information visualization designers. Their development process includes iterative steps of planning, research, analysis, design, evaluation, documentation, and training. As they carry out all of these tasks, however, they would do well to consider their own cultural orientation and to understand the preferred structures and processes of other cultures. This attention would help them to achieve more desirable global solutions or to determine to what extent localized, customized designs might be better than international or universal ones. Cultures, even within some countries, are very different. Sacred colors in the Judeo-Christian West (e.g., red, blue, white, gold) are different from Buddhist saffron yellow or Islamic green. Subdued Finnish designs for background screen patterns (see Figure 1) might not be equally suitable in Mediterranean climates, in Hollywood, USA, or Bollywood, India. These differences go deeper than mere appearance; they reflect strong cultural values. How might these cultural differences be understood

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