How To Design For A Cross-Cultural User Experience (part 1/2)

Our culture defines our values and our behaviour – not only in our everyday lives, but also on the Web. What catches our attention, what makes us trust a website, how we search for information, what we consider relevant, what triggers our actions, and how we perceive a website – at the end of the day, it all depends on our cultural background. For web designers, this presents a true challenge: How can we ensure a cross-cultural user experience if we are not truly familiar with cultures other than our own?

Gert Hofstede, a Dutch organizational sociologist and pioneer in cross-cultural research has conducted one of the most comprehensive studies of how values are influenced by culture. He has developed a systematic framework for assessing and differentiating cultures. Obviously, it is not possible to apply assumptions one-on-one to an entire culture — at least not without prejudices. Like always when looking at different cultures, we should avoid stereotypical thinking.

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