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Cross-Cultural Considerations for User Interface Design by Nehal Shah, CUA, CXA

A couple of weeks ago, while doing some cross-cultural research on websites, I stumbled onto several McDonald's’ websites in different countries. It was particularly striking that each of the sites was radically different, not just in terms of text and translation, but from the kind of images used, typography selected, color palettes designed, layouts chosen, to even the favicons!

As I looked at more examples from different countries, it appeared that the European websites were more similar visually when compared to the set of Asian websites. While I debated whether it was a good design strategy or stereotyping of cultures, it was clear that McDonald's felt it was important.

On the one hand, the user interface design process focuses wholly on the user and his context — his needs, wants, expectations and preferences — and on the other hand, global businesses want to cater to and engage with consumers across the world and consider demographic diversity which, while possible, can get very complicated.

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