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Anita Salem <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Wed, 27 Apr 2005 17:24:38 -0700
text/plain (55 lines)
Hi Hal,

You said:
"Are Americans in more of a hurry, more critical, etc? (Or is it just that
I'm from New York and that's *my* view of the world?) Have you found any
differences in how Americans and Europeans react to software, or differences
in their expectations? Got any good resources for me?"

I’ve been curious about this as well.  Even though most of my user
experience work has been in the U.S., I’ve noticed some big differences in
Asian and Russian ESL users here in the US.  Some things I’ve seen are more
requests for background information--not “just the facts ma’am”.  I’ve also
heard more comments about the lack of imaging and a sense of humor.  And
then repeatedly I come across different understandings of common terms and
applications (My favorite was when my test question about disposing oil in
the street drains led the user to look under food. Couldn’t figure it out
until we talked and it turns out that in his culture they are very heavy
users of cooking oil and that was his problem with “oil”.)

In trying to look at these cross-cultural issues, I came across some work by
Aaron Marcus, who has applied a popular Dutch anthropologist’s (Geert
Hofstede) work on cultural dimensions to web site design.  Hofstede’s work
looks at cultural similarities and differences across five
dimensions--power, individualism, femininity, uncertainty avoidance, and
time orientation.  I found Aaron’s discussion of how this applies to web
site design interesting, and I think Hofstede’s dimensions are a very useful
lens to look at any culture.  However, I’m not sure about the validity of
the approach.  It seems to border on stereotyping and Hofstede’s methodology
has been criticized.  

I haven’t really spent the time to pursue Hofstede’s theory and was
wondering if any one has come across it and knows if it is a “credible”

For those interested, the Aaron Marcus article can be found at:

Anita Salem
         customer-driven product development

        Aptos CA  		Seattle  WA
        (831) 277-6616	     (206) 550-3027

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