Delivering a Cross-Cultural User Experience, Part 2

Aaron Branson
July 30, 2013
User Experience Design

In my previous post, we covered cross-browser and cross-device design, and how the techniques of responsive design and adaptive design could join forces and "activate!" for a more precise and optimal user experience.

This allows our websites to take a more relevant form, so to speak, based on the user's technology profile (device, browser, resolution, etc.), but how can we apply this same technique and capability to meet the user's cultural context?

While many websites fulfill the basic necessity of translation so the user can at least read the website in their native language. But why stop there? We can use this same Adaptive Design technique we use to serve up a culture-specific design. Does a customer in St. Louis, Missouri have a different world view and cultural perception of layout, colors, image, icons, than perhaps someone in Beijing, China? I think we can agree they probably do.

Thinking of global companies, who is more global than McDonald's? They're everywhere! Check out the difference between the US website and the China website. Quite a user experience difference, NOT just a translation!

The stark contrast of the McDonald's US and China websites implies quite a difference in the customer's cultural context.

Of course, this can be achieved with many individually managed websites. And for some organizations, be it for legal, logistical, or political reasons; it may be the most appropriate method. But what I'd propose looking into is the Sitecore CEP capability of "Devices" to not only detect and deliver a unique UI based on the user's technology, but also do the same for their culture! Technically, it's not any different; other than the "detection" aspect. While we can detect the user's device, browser and resolution), you can't for sure detect someone's culture. You could base it on geography, but you don't want to be overly presumptuous. But by simply defining a URL for that culture's UI, the corresponding UI can be set as the default – so the .CN URL would display the China UI, while .COM would display the U.S. UI.

Just another way to take the concept of "personalization" further and provide an optimal user experience for each and every unique customer. All while streamlining the web operations management. One-to-One marketing without the one-to-one effort! I'd be curious to hear about any organizations using this technique today, and the results so far.

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