We live in a highly connected world and as a UX designer you’re likely to find yourself working on a project with international reach or involved in a product that’s based abroad. People around the world interact with technology differently and identifying cultural preferences can be the key to a successful design.
Conduct research to understand users’ behaviour and preferences
Using the same website in different countries can have contrasting outcomes because cultural characteristics reflect in the behaviour of users. Conducting usability tests and interviews can help you gain a deeper understanding of people’s motivation and preferences when using a certain product. Create hypotheses of why something does or doesn’t work and let the research inform you about the needs of the users. Even regions in close proximity can have significant differences and for this reason in-depth research is always a good idea.
Create detailed personas
Once you have conducted research it will be much easier to create realistic and detailed personas. Depending on the project, you can create multiple personas or one key profile and include all details that you need. You can use the personas as reference at any point of your project to keep your design aligned to the expectations of the local users.
Adapting UX to local expectations
UX localisation is key when you’re tailoring the user experience for international users. Make sure you consider the following:
- The language is clear and local to the specific area.
- Date, numbers and calendar are formatted conventionally.
- Right-to-left language support if needed.
- Communication with the user is appropriate (onboarding, app description, email communication, etc.)
UX localisation is a process that involves all aspects of UX design and the above are only some examples. When done right, UX localisation will help you to fully adapt a product to the cultural preferences and habits of your target users and target market.
Explore the local practices
Familiarise yourself with the UI patterns and layouts used locally. Researching the local practices and standards will give you a good understanding of what users expect to see and what you can build on as a starting point. Some widely used icons or symbols in one region may not be used at all in another. Competitor and local market analysis can help you and your team to better understand the design patterns in a given market.
Designing for international users can be challenging because cultural background affects the way people perceive and interact with digital products. UX design is an empathetic discipline and learning more about the cultural nuances through various methods and processes will help you overcome these challenges and design a valuable product.
Additional content provided by Jana Petrova