7 ways to prepare for cross-cultural usability testing

It’s a diverse world we live in. Around 13% of the population in both the US and the UK was born overseas, jumping to 25% of the population in Australia. Technology and online communication continue to make geographical separation less relevant. But while geography may be less relevant in the digital age, culture hasn’t lost its significance. If you’re conducting usability testing in a cross-cultural setting, it’s important to be prepared. After all, in an ever-globalising world, chances are that cross-cultural usability testing will crop up at some point in your career. I learnt about cross-cultural usability testing the hard way&hellip; <br />
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I’d love to hear any stories people have about cultural differences in UX projects. Do you have something you can share?


I’ve learned this one the hard way too.

The most memorable instance I can share was during a focus group (don’t judge me I don’t like focus groups either- it wasn’t my idea). Funnily enough in this group, exactly 25% of my participants (one in a group of four) were born overseas and yep you know I live in Australia so it was a pretty good representation of the population.

The mistake I made was assuming that all of my participants would understand what I was asking them to do. They didn’t and unfortunately this caused tension among my participants with three quarters of the table getting very frustrated with the fourth participant. It was my fault for not communicating in a clear and straightforward manner- I used terms that not everyone understood and I ended up with a situation where at least one of my participants was having an awful time.

Reading your article did make me wonder if the same could be applied to neurodiverse individuals:
Be mindful that verbal and non-verbal cues are likely to be different.

And this:
Most people might translate the English into their native language to understand better before responding.

This is really important. A former colleague of one of my parents described it as: Hearing it English, translating it to her native language, thinking in her native language, thinking about translating that to English and then actually responding in English. That really does take time.