How to design a site for international audiences

A few years back companies could design a site for local audiences and ignore the user base which was beyond their expected demographic of users. However with companies expanding beyond their local demographic and moving their base of operations into multiple regions, there is an increasing demand to ensure that the site design can cater to the requirements of those regions. Designing for multiple regions with different cultural connotation and website design best practice can be a daunting experience as some best practices in a particular country might be a very offensive practice in another country. For example:

A golf ball manufacturing company packaged golf balls in packs of four for convenient purchase in Japan. Unfortunately, the number 4 is equivalent to the number 13 due it sounding like the word “death”

When the US firm Gerber started selling baby food in Africa they used the same packaging as in the US, i.e. with a picture of a baby on the label. Sales flopped and they soon realized that in Africa companies typically place pictures of contents on their labels.

EuroDisney made a major mistake when it created a multimillion dollar advertising campaign with tons of purple. For the Catholics of Western Europe, purple signifies the crucifixion, and it’s a color of mourning rather than a happy place as Disney sites are known to be. The end result was that EuroDisney flopped.

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How to test a web app prior to usability or User acceptance testing

Though usability testing would be ideal to determine if a web app has achieved its functionality, You can also make the effort to check its effectiveness prior to passing it on to users. Given below is a checklist of things you must do to test your web app from an user experience and functional perspective

  • Is the objective of the web app clear : Let’s assume you are designing a web app to show financial information of the latest stock trades. Is that information apparent at first when you look at the web app or is there any disconcerting information which is distracting the user from the focus of the app.
  • Are all the goals of the app satisfied : This point is a continuation of the previous point. In this point I would recommend establishing all the goals which the app has set out to do are satisfied or not and if they are not satisfied, what are the unique cases in which the app fails and if we should consider those unique cases or not.

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“Selling” the management on need for UX focus

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This blog post is a continuation of the previous blog post of growing UX operations within your agency. You might have been tasked with the role of growing the UX operations but you find that you are not too sure about how to convince the management to have a UX centered process or even invest in a design centered process. Though there are no hard and fast rules about how to go about here, here are some ways to go about it

a. Identify the management who is willing to listen to you: In my experience, Most managers still consider user experience as the same as UI or content management ( I had a manager who thinks all that was to user experience was proper grammar and pretty colors). However you do have a few managers who are willing to listen or think ahead with coming up with new development models which will fine tune the process and result in better results over time. So your first step is to identify these people and bring them over to your way to thinking

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Growing UX operations in an agency

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You have just joined a new agency as its brand new UX designer or even its director of User Experience. But you suddenly find that your agency has no real focus on User Experience and you are not exactly sure about how to promote User experience as a best practice  or even a design process within the company. Though it can be pretty difficult to shake up a agency or a company to start implementing a new design process, here are some inputs to enable you get you on the road.

  • Find out who are the key stakeholders in the company who are interested in user experience: This is really important as you would need the support of atleast someone in senior managemenent when you start pitching UX design processes and UX methodologies to a team who perhaps hasnt had exposure to them. Also understanding the key stakeholders helps you determine the weightage your words will have and whom you need to influence to bring about potential change

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