Designing for global audiences with different cultural backgrounds can be challenging.

To thrive in an international market, sites must go beyondtranslation and localization并获得市场用户与产品互动的第一手数据。即使main usability guidelines stay the same across countries,与国际观众进行测试reveal usability problems specific to those cultures。There are two main reasons to test with international users:

  1. International users may interact with your products differently or rely on specific features more heavily than local audiences.
  2. 男子tal models and how people interact with technology or organizations can vary from country to country.

与更可能被国际用户使用的特性相关的可用性问题

国际可用性测试可以uncover issues with important site functionalities rarely used by your major group

例如,国内用户很少可以切换网站语言。但对于国际用户来说,这个功能的可辨能至关重要。在我们在中国的用户学习期间,一位女性参与者试图在韩国衣服零售商可能 - 宝贝的移动版上购物。很快,她意识到该页面是用英语和韩语编写的,也没有人可以阅读。然后她想知道是否有中文版本,禁点导航菜单,没有运气。她花了很长时间才发现在页面页脚中的语言切换器。她在主页上滚动,在滚动约13次屏幕后,她终于看到了一排在页面底部的国旗。点击中国的旗帜将她带到了该网站的中文版。她说,“我认为这是一个很好的设计,显示出不同语言的国旗,因为也许我不知道如何在英语或韩语中说”语言“。但为什么他们在这么长的页面结束时把它放在最后? I may have missed it.”

The mobile version of maybe-baby.co.kr (left) was 13-screenful long, with the language switcher in the footer (zoomed-in in the right part of the screenshot).

衣服尺寸是可以不同的另一个特点m country to country, as are measurement units of choice. People shopping on a foreign site may feel they need to understand sizing and use tools such as size guides more than domestic users. A study participant tried to shop for a pair of jeans at Zara.cn, but she wasn’t able to properly access it. When she clicked the尺寸指南巴顿,一张覆盖着一位女性穿着牛仔裤的大照片出现了。用户应该选择一个尺寸,以便在图像顶部显示尺寸。但是,不幸的是,她不明白的是:选择尺码label and the tiny arrow associated with it were very close to the bottom of the page. She was confused, “Where is the guide? It’s just a picture.”

Zara.cn:当一名参与者点击“尺码指南”(Size Guide)时,她看到模特身上的牛仔裤图片(左)。她应该使用选择尺码below that image to select a size and have the corresponding dimensions overlapped on the image (right). However, she never discovered that functionality because the dropdown was too close to the bottom of her screen and the associated arrow too tiny. She thought there was something wrong with the site.

揭示这些基本可用性问题不仅有助于国际受众,而且还有利于通常在可用性测试中招标的潜在国内用户,如少数民族代表不同的语言。它实际上可以提高您设计的可访问性。

Culturally Specific Issues

除了一般可用性故障,usability testing can also identify culturally specific problems during international usability testing related to:

  • 使用背景
  • 产品认知
  • 内容消耗
  • Interaction with your organization

使用背景

人们通常在哪里使用你的产品?谁在使用你的产品?他们有哪些类型的设备限制?当你进行远程国际可用性测试时,你可以更好地了解这些问题,研究参与者在他们喜欢的地点(比如他们的家或办公室)执行任务,而不是传统的实验室可用性测试。

语境因素是指所有可能影响用户与您的产品或服务互动的所有工件(物理和数字)和人员。

While it’s neither possible nor necessary to figure out how all contextual factors impact the user experience, you may be able to identify issues such asbroadband limitations

例如,when we conducted远程可用性测试with Indian participants recently, we observed that several participants had to wait for a long time to load websites. Fancy websites full of animations, pictures, and videos only made it worse.

When a participant visited the Decathlon site on his mobile phone, he waited 20 seconds for the navigation to load (and it didn’t). The navigation was very complex, with lots of pictures and even an embedded search feature. He finally turned to the site’s search bar instead of waiting for the navigation to load fully. “The website is pretty heavy to load,” he commented.

相比之下,当他尝试在paytmall.com(一个印度电子商务平台)购物时,导航的最小设计立即加载,他很乐意使用它在网站上移动。

Decothlon.in使用了一个复杂的导航(左)。对于每个主模块,有几个具有搜索功能的交互式子模块。导航花了很长时间才加载参与者放弃使用它。Paytmmall.com(右)的轻量级和清晰的导航加载得更快,同样的参与者迅速开始购物。

Your product’scompatibility with users’ preferred devices or software, like operating systems or browsers,is also vital。Since people are so used to these essential tools and have no problems browsing domestic websites, if your product doesn’t work, your users will believe it’s your problem, but not theirs.

We observed several such cases when we conducted ecommerce research study with Chinese participants. For example, a female participant tried to pick a lipstick for her friend’s birthday. She had no issues choosing a lipstick when visiting the mobile version of the Chinese MAC Cosmetics, but couldn’t check out for some reason. The cart button just wouldn’t work. She was disappointed about the site and believed something was wrong with it.

原来,她把百度浏览器设为自己的默认浏览器,这个浏览器和MAC网站之间存在一些兼容性问题。据百度统计,9.5%的中国手机流量通过百度浏览器。MAC化妆品中国公司可能会在不知不觉中失去这部分客户。研究人员促使她尝试使用手机的内置浏览器,而MAC网站起了作用。

(However, you shouldn’t rely only on usability testing to find out compatibility issues; for small user segments, it can be hard to identify them during testing. Teams working on international products should consider these compatibility problems early in the design and development stages by checking platform-usage data.)

有时候,可用性测试还可以揭示用户在使用产品时的人际互动和交流如何影响他们的体验

例如,在我们的测试中,一位印度资深参与者经常在她年幼的女儿在网站上找不到东西的时候向她求助,因为她英语不好,也不太懂技术。

(Typically, we don’t allow other people to interfere with participants when they perform the tasks. However, we make exceptions in cases like this, because it’s a reflection of how the user actually uses digital technology in real life. Another example would be when parents help out young kids with tech issues.)

Perception of the Product

How do your international users perceive the visual design of your products? How do they feel about your products or services before and after performing some tasks? How much do they trust your brand?

人from different cultural backgrounds have different visual-design preferences。研究人员Katharina Reinecke和Krzysztof Gajos在世界各地的39,000多名与会者的网站美学上收集了240万个主观评分。他们发现俄罗斯参与者显着优选的是视觉复杂性较低的网站,而来自墨西哥和智利的人们对具有高视觉复杂性的网站提供了更高的分数。同样的研究还发现,单色设计是由芬兰人,俄罗斯人,法国和德国人优先的,而马来西亚人和智利人往往喜欢五颜六色的视觉效果。同样,我们在中国之前的研究也发现了Chinese participants had a higher tolerance for high visual-complexity websitesthan foreign users.

Testing your visual designs with your target audiences是衡量他们兴趣的好方法。

超越立即审美评估,usability testing can also uncover how users, especially newcomers, perceive the credibility and trustworthiness of your products or services. 例如,不同的目标受众可能认为不同的设计组件是可信的。

When we tested the Chinese version of the Australian pharmacy website Pharmacy Online with Chinese participants, several people praised its credibility. They appreciated that the site had a navigation UI similar to that of Chinese ecommerce websites and also localized components such as a WeChat official account. These elements made the website look familiar to them.

The Chinese version of pharmacyonline.com.au (top) compared with Taobao’s homepage (bottom): Some participants perceived this localized design as highly credible because it used components familiar to them, such as a WeChat QR-code and Taobao-like information architecture.

Consumption of Content

Can international users easily understand the information presented on your site? Do they like itstone of voice? Do they find the content helpful and how do they make use of it?

Testing your content如果您的全球受众尤其重要,如果您使用的网站(例如,美国,澳大利亚,UK)使用相同的语言版本拥有多种文化多样化的观众,请使用相同的语言版本。

例如,当我们测试中文版的匡威网站时,一位年轻男性参与者抱怨标签。而不是传统的电子商务标签男子,Women, 和配件, Converse China used伙计男的,Dudette.女的。(It is hard to find English equivalents to these two labels. In Chinese, these words often have a negative connotation, instead of the casual tone indicated by the English words伙计Dudette。)

参与者为时尚鞋店购物了很多,属于匡威的目标受众,说:“它说伙计Dudette.而不是男子Women。It makes me feel uncomfortable. It’s a little bit casual, and I feel they don’t respect people.”

为说不同语言的人翻译完你的内容后,一定要回顾一下它的语调,因为它会影响你的品牌。不要只听营销专家的话;让多个用户对您的设计执行任务,并查看他们对您的音调的感受。

除了内容本身和语调,不同文化背景的人对内容的组织方式有不同的偏好. 例如,people in high-context cultures like China are used with websites with high information density并且可能更喜欢它们具有相对低信息密度的人。

You can also find out whether the content you offer is helpful or whether you need to provide specific, additional content that these target audiences may be used to on similar sites.

For example, an Indian participant wasn’t satisfied with the dimension information (in centimeters) provided for photo frames on Myntra. “This is funny because when we measure the wall décor, we use inches instead of centimeters. So, the size information they provided was not useful.” (Some cultures in India prefer inches, others centimeters.)

Myntra(一个印度电子商务平台)提供的模型尺寸是厘米而不是英寸,这对参与者来说根本没用。

During our ecommerce study in China, a participant shopping for Nike shoes wanted a popularity-filter feature, which was available on almost all domestic retailer sites. He complained, “There are no filters on popularity! I want to know which ones sell best, so that I’m wearing the most popular style.”

Interaction with Your Organization

How do your international users typically interact with your organization or with other similar organizations? Are there any channels that tend to be used more frequently than others?

例如,印度参与者更喜欢一次性密码,但是中国参与者通过第三方服务登录like WeChat and AliPay on mobile or by scanning a扫描二维码在桌面上。

When we ran an in-person university website study in China, a participant tried to figure out York University’s transfer student requirements. She wasn't happy with the website's vague information and was upset to learn that she needed to communicate with the institution through emails: “I don’t think it’s a proper way to communicate with Chinese students. I’d prefer some instant communication methods like an online Open Day through Skype.”

来自不同文化的人也可以更喜欢与他们最喜欢的品牌保持更新的平台. 开放式和探索性的可用性测试任务,如Check out whether any of your favorite brands launched something new可以显示他们的喜好和浏览模式。

例如,在美国进行的社交媒体可用性测试中,我们将这些问题与认知映射activity. We found that participants believed that organizations were more active on Twitter than on Facebook. Several used Instagram to follow different fashion-related businesses. They didn’t link use Snapchat to engage with businesses at all. In China, WeChat and Weibo (the equivalent of Twitter) are the most used social-media channels for engaging with businesses.

何时运行国际可用性测试

You should conduct usability testing with global audiences early in the product-development stage, when planning your strategy and product launch in a new market。甚至paper prototyping可以为您提供关于特定文化和一般可用性问题的丰富见解。

You don’t have to identify all issues in one round of tests. Sometimes, running several rounds of small tests with a different focus is cheaper and easier. For instance, you can test basic usability issues, content, and tone of voice for the first round, while also observing context of use. A second round can focus on testing and prioritizing localized features and components.

产品发布后,您可以进行测试以进行研究全局组件的可用性,用于所有市场,并进一步调查您应该本地化的其他功能to keep competitive in the new market

Once your product has been known to your new market for a while, runningquantitative usability testing,often used forbenchmarking,can also benefit you。Keep track of your chosen success metrics and monitor them for major changes to evaluate your design work and compare your performance with industry standards.

你可以(也应该)将产品的可用性测试与其他方法结合起来,比如competitive usability testing,interviews,field studies,diary studies,等定性研究方法,充分了解用户需求,mental models, 和expectations.

结论

使用您的全球观众进行研究可以帮助您揭示您无法通过使用国内用户测试无法找到的问题。早期和经常进行这些研究,以确保在您的国际市场中取得成功。

Reference

Reinecke, K., & Gajos, K. Z. (2014, April). Quantifying visual preferences around the world. In计算系统中的人类因素会议诉讼程序(第11-20页)。