A user-centric design approach is undoubtedly the backbone of UX design. Designers know for a fact that they do not design for a single category of users. Every user has a different background, ethnicity, and culture. But, how does any of this influence UX design? Behind the pretty screens you design, there is an individual who may essentially connect with that design in the context of their specific culture. This correlation made by the user can be conscious or subconscious.
So, while most designers generalize or do not pay much attention to the research of differential user needs, there is a dire need that you should! With the growing prejudice in the world, designers can play the role of heroes by simply embracing cultural differences in their products.
Now, when the why and how questions loom in your mind, let’s cut to the chase and break down what cultured-centered design is.
How can culture impact user experience?
There is no surprise in the fact that people behave differently according to the culture they belong to. Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension Theory identifies the existence of six aspects of explicit cultural differences.
Power distance Index
It’s like a scale that indicates the perception and acceptance of hierarchy in a given society. The higher degree signifies acceptance and unquestioned establishment of hierarchy. In contrast, the lower degree signifies the involvement of the people in power distribution.
Individualism vs. collectivism
This index discovers the group participation of people in a society. In individualistic societies, people focus solely on themselves, whereas collectivism in a society indicates close relationships between people.
Societies with a higher masculinity score are inclined towards hard work, exertion, and assertiveness. On the other hand, feminine societies or societies with a low masculine score hold persistence for cooperation and quality of life.
This index shows the extent to which people of a particular society feel comfortable or uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguous circumstances.
Long-term orientation vs. short-term orientation
Communities with high long-term orientation facilitate preparation for the future, while communities with low long-term orientation appreciate quick results and favor measuring performance or driving results on a short-term basis.
Indulgence vs. restraint
This element indicates the comparison between societies in terms of the degree to which a given society permits its members to enjoy and cherish life in
What is Culture Centered Design All About?
A culture-centered design can enable designs to meet the needs of various types of users and create value for businesses. A study shows how cultural differences can impact information and technology adoption, marketing, enterprise understanding, and, of course, UI/UX design. But, worry not, some universally accepted principles may steer designers in the right direction. When designed along these principles, products can serve users' needs, build brand equity and even expand the ROI. A culturally accepted product-
Stands tall on the pillars of user research- You must have seen how successful apps and websites often ask about your experience using the product. Now, this happens with every user individually, making them feel special and considered. In-depth user research and analysing user background becomes essential when a product is introduced in a different culture.
Consider the cultural background of the users- If the design teams know the cultural background of their users, then voila! They’ve made it to stage one. Next comes the making of appropriate tweaks to the product as per the users' specific needs, pain points, and goals.
No matter how globalized the world becomes, geographical location, culture, language, social habits, etc., still form a core part of many people’s identity. In order to be a success, your product should reflect a respect for these wide-ranging factors by incorporating the differential cultural insights, symbols, and practices. For example, adding the local languages, currencies, and easy location tracking may make your product look culturally sensitive.
Prioritizes local product analysis- Some UI patterns, such as Gmail, are universal for most cultures. For instance, the mainstream chat applications in the US and China may have several differences in the UI. It’s because people of different cultures may react differently to design patterns.
According to research, there is a grave difference between functionality symbols and landing page designs for the east and west. So, a prior analysis of accepted design patterns is critical for products to become culturally versatile. Similarly, adapting to the local terminology with the UI copies is also vital. Designers can take the help of tools like Google trends to localize copies according to various global markets.
A culture-centered design revolves around the indigenous people and their lifestyles. Its framework ensures that the design is influenced by the people, their traditions, and set practices.
With this established, we can satisfactorily conclude that user research holds eminent importance for a culture-centered design. Designers have the liberty to construct the research as per their convenience and understanding, as this research may serve as a beacon light to plan the rest of the path for user engagement. Moreover, a competitor analysis may also help designers with their current position and boost it with some best local practices of user engagement.
Indeed, designers can accomplish these steps only if they have respect and empathy for all kinds of cultures, backgrounds, and ethnicities. Therefore, culture-centered design welcomes inclusivity and may empower people in ways unknown.