T17: Cross-Cultural HCI/User-Experience Design: New Trends and Approaches

Thursday, 30 June 2022, 17:00 – 21:00 CEST (Central European Summer Time - Gothenburg, Sweden)
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Aaron Marcus (short bio)

Aaron Marcus and Associates (AM+A), Berkeley, California, United States



Participants in this tutorial will:

  • Learn how cultural dimensions relate to the design of user-interface components (metaphors, mental models, navigation, interaction, and appearance).
  • Learn new terms and concepts to understand culture and dimensions of culture (e.g., power distance, individualism/collectivism, masculinity/femininity, uncertainty avoidance, and time orientation)
  • Learn about additional culture dimensions, models, and dimensions (e.g., persuasion, trust, intelligence, cognition) that must be considered.
  • Learn practical trade-offs from studying several multi-national companies' Web efforts, best-of-breed set of culture dimensions derived from expert opinions, how mobile devices from Asia and the USA exhibit culture differences, examples of culture differences and similarities of Web and social networking Websites, how cultural analysis can help localization of software before translation, and how cultural analysis can benefit multi-cultural, multi-discipline, multi-national development teams.

Participants will learn practical, immediately useful principles/techniques.

Participants will become familiar with the theories of user-centered user-experience design, culture theory, and the merging of these developments in the current state of product/services, including desktop and mobile applications. Issues discussed will include those from key technology, social, business, culture, and HCI/UX design. Concepts covered to assist professionals to design more effectively are these:

  • User Analysis: Specification of user demographics and user-environment, user modeling, task analysis, and business objectives
  • Metaphors:  Easily recognized and remembered, fundamental concepts conveyed through words, signs, and images
  • Mental models:  Appropriate organization of data, functions, tasks, roles, and people
  • Navigation of mental model:  Efficient movement within the mental model via windows, menus, dialogue boxes, or control panels
  • Interaction:  Effective input and output-feedback sequencing
  • Appearance:  Quality visual, acoustic, and touch characteristics
  • Information Visualization:  Tables, charts, maps, and diagrams
  • Basic visual design: Scale, proportion, rhythm, symmetry, and balance
  • Cross-cultural communication: fundamental theories and dimensions
  • User-centered design process


Content and Benefits:

This tutorial summarizes key concepts of user-centered design (UCD) for use experiences (UXs), then focuses on cross-cultural communication and design issues. User experiences and human-computer interfaces (HCI) for desktop, Web, mobile, and vehicle platforms must reach across culturally diverse user communities, even within a single country/language group, and certainly across the globe. If HCIs/UXs are to be usable, useful, and appealing to such a wide range of users, UX/HCI developers must account for cultural expectations and preferences in globalizing/localizing products and services. In this tutorial, participants will learn practical principles and techniques that are immediately useful for both analysis and design tasks.

The course introduces culture models and shows detailed examples of culture influencing Web design. In addition to Europe and North America, the course also considers other cultures, in particular China, and discusses other metaphors, mental models, navigation, interaction, and appearance paradigms in the context of Web and mobile HCI/UX design.

Lastly, the course introduces a taxonomy of cuteness to mark differences encountered in Asian cultures and shows examples of how these differences affect Web/mobile HCI/UX design.

Participants will have an opportunity to discuss each section and topic as time permits.

New for 2022: The tutorial includes updated references to Websites cited and to recent articles and papers about culture analysis of HCI/UX design published in recent years. Example data include updated examples of corporate Websites exhibiting consistent cultural biases, the latest statistics about Singles Day sales in China, and the popularity of Line messaging in Japan. Participants will receive afterwards a specially curated collection, assembled by the course organizer, of papers published recently about all aspects of cross-cultural analysis in HCI/UX design.

Detailed Lecture Descriptions and Allocation of Time

Lecture 0: Introduction to instructor and tutorial (15 minutes)

This period will introduce the presenter and discuss how the techniques that will be discussed fit into the user-interface development process, including an introduction to globalization/localization issues. We’ll look at several examples of questionable cross-cultural communication and discuss several cultural anthropological theories briefly. We’ll ask for participants’ own experiences in difficulties of communicating across cultural boundaries.

Lecture 1: Cross-Cultural UX Design (75 minutes)

Illustrated lectures will introduce each of five dimensions of one culture model: power distance, individualism vs. collectivism, masculinity vs. femininity, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term time orientation. For each dimension, we shall explain the characteristics and their potential impact on work, education, and family life, then show examples of Websites from different countries, but with the same subject matter that demonstrate indigenous cultural characteristics.

We shall examine, also, several major businesses and consumer Websites for multi-national corporations from several countries (USA: McDonald’s, Coke; Korea: Samsung; Germany: Siemens) and discuss the apparent tradeoffs of “universal” vs. localized solutions for user-interface components per culture dimensions. A culture model was used to analyze variations in user-interface components of corporate global Website designs for a dozen B2B and B2C companies, including Siemens, Peoplesoft,  McDonalds,  and Coca-Cola. In addition, we discuss a survey of 60 professional analysts of culture and user-interface design, which resulted in a composite set of 19 culture dimensions and the top five that emerged from the study to serve as a practical set for culture analysis of user interfaces.

Lecture 2: Emerging Chinese UX Design Trends (45 minutes)

We investigate the emerging trends in Chinese Web and mobile products/services that distinguish them from Western examples and speculate on the emergence of a new approach to UX design based on Chinese culture.

Lecture 3: Cuteness Engineering: Designing Adorable Products and Services (30 minutes)

We analyze an example of a culture-dependent attribute of UX designs: cuteness, which is stronger in Asian than Western countries. Asian cultures give an increased attention to aesthetic appeal and fun in the UX in comparison to Western cultures and have a higher interest in and attention to cuteness. Cuteness will be connected to many aspects of UX design. A framework of cuteness characteristics is presented and examples are discussed.


Target Audience:

The target audience for this tutorial includes those professionals, academics, students, and researchers who are familiar with UX/HCI concepts but who may be new to cross-cultural theories, culture models, and cross-cultural analysis.

Bio Sketch of Presenter:

Aaron Marcus, Principal, AM+A

Mr. Marcus has been researching and designing user-experiences for. Computers, exhibits, and publications since 1969. He received a BA in Physics from Princeton University (1965) and a BFA and MFA in Graphic Design from Yale University Art School (1968). He is an internationally recognized authority on the design of user interfaces, interactive multimedia, and printing/publishing documents. Mr. Marcus has given tutorials at HCII, SIGGRAPH, SIGCHI, HFES, UXPA and other conferences, and in workshops for businesses and academic institutions around the world. He has published 39 books (including edited conference proceedings) and more than 300 articles, including Human Factors and Typography for More Readable Programs (1990), The Cross-GUI Handbook (1994), Mobile TV: Customizing Content and Context (2010), Graphic Design for Electronic Documents and User Interfaces (1992), The Past 100 Years of the Future: UX in Sci-Fi Movies and Television (2012), Mobile Persuasion Design (2015), and HCI/User-Experience Design: Fast Forward to the Past, Present, and Future (2015), Cuteness Engineering: Designing Adorable Products and Services (2017), and The Work of Aaron Marcus: Way Ahead of You in Another Direction (2022, in preparation). Mr. Marcus was the world’s first professional graphic designer to be involved full-time in computer graphics (1967), to program a desktop publishing system (for the AT&T Picturephone, 1969-71), to design virtual realities (1971-73), and to establish an independent computer-based user-interface and information-visualization firm (1982). In 2016, the San Francisco Museum of Modern (SFMoMA) art acquired about 70 of his works and included 21 of them in a show “Typeface to Interface” built around the acquisitions. His design work and art work are in the collections of SFMoMA, the Victoria and Albert Museum/London, the Computer Museum/Mountain View, the Letterform Archive/San Francisco, and the RIT Vignelli Graphic Design Archive/Rochester. In 1992, he received the National Computer Graphics Association Industry Achievement Award for contributions to computer graphics. In 2008, the AIGA named him a Fellow; in 2009, CHI elected him to the CHI Academy. He has been a Visiting Prof., Inst. of Design, IIT, Chicago; College of Design and Innovation, Tongji Univ., Shanghai; and Computer Science Department, Dalian Maritime University, China.

Mr. Marcus is Principal of Aaron Marcus and Associates, a user-interface and information-visualization development firm with 40 years of experience in helping people make smarter decisions faster, at work, at home, at play, and on the way. AM+A), has developed user-centered, task-oriented solutions for complex computer-based design and communication challenges for clients worldwide on all major platforms (client-server networks, the Web, mobile devices, appliances, and vehicles), for most vertical markets, and for most user communities within companies and among their customers. AM+A has served corporate, government, education, and consumer-oriented clients to meet their needs for usable products and services with proven improvements in readability, comprehension, and appeal. AM+A uses its well-established methodology to help them plan, research, analyze, design, implement, evaluate, train, and document metaphors, mental models, navigation, interaction and appearance. AM+A has developed ten concept designs for mobile persuasion design, documented in Mobile Persuasion Design (2015). AM+A’s clients include Apple, BMW, HP, Kaiser, Microsoft, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Sabre, Samsung, SAP, Siemens, and Xerox.

He has written chapters/case studies for seven Handbooks; has presented lectures/organized panels about cross-cultural user-experience design, mobile persuasion design, culture, and science- fiction, and HCI since 1980. He is Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of User Experience, Editor of Information Design Journal, and an editorial board member of Visible Language and the International Journal of HCI.