What to Know About Global Usability

By Priscilla Lim

Global usability addresses the cultural, ethnographic, and linguistic implications of designing user-friendly products for users around the world.

In collaboration with Mindy Eng.

Products created in the digital era are products that reach global audiences. In crafting meaningful experiences for these products, product teams need to consider both the individual and collective experiences of these products across all cultures. Global usability addresses the cultural, ethnographic, and linguistic implications of designing user-friendly products for users around the world. Here are some tips on what to know about global usability from our team here at Key Lime Interactive.

Products in the Digital Era are products that need to be designed for a global audience.

Digital products are a conduit for communicating with a worldwide audience. Be prepared to have your product used by anyone, anywhere, worldwide. Good UX is designed in alignment with the mental models of its audience. Think of culture as a lock and key to a brand’s experience. It is most effective when it mirrors the norms of the culture it is speaking to.

Designing products for a global audience means recognizing our own biases and breaking cultural and linguistic barriers.

In a global context, we are usually not our users. We need to be able to design experiences that communicate message in a meaningful way that cuts through linguistic and cultural barriers. If we want to reach a global audience, we need to think about translation and it needs to be accounted for at the design stage.

A picture is always worth a thousand words.

In any language and in any culture, images remain being effective Teams have moved beyond just language as a means to communicate messages to symbols, colors, and imagery. This is where culture comes into play. Identify which elements have universal meaning, and which elements have culturally dependent meaning. For example, color can be a touchy subject because difference colors have different meaning and symbolism across different cultures.

Plan ahead to to ensure you design with intent, empathy, and understanding.

Start with any data that you have pertaining to your target user, target market, and relevant trends. After knowing your historical data, it is time to decide what you’re going to research and why, from exploratory research to more tactical research.

We have only touched on the foundation of what it takes to design with a global audience in mind. Ensure that your team is accounting for these key areas on your international projects. With a little research and planning, we have the potential to design and create products and experiences that not only have a worldwide reach, but also leave a remarkable and lasting impression with users. You know what they say -- first impressions are lasting and great digital experiences build brand trust. Make it count! Have some tips you follow when designing for a global audience? Let us know!

 

READ MORE: 5 Key Elements for Successfully Managing an International Customer Research Project, What We Talk About When We Talk About International UX Research, How Do We Get the Most Out of UX Research In New Markets, How Biometrics Help Designers Design Better

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