Designing for global, multi-cultural audiences introduces complex challenges. This resource outlines lessons that I have learned while building cross-cultural experiences.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that inclusion matters and representation matters. Western corporations have taken a long hard look at how to eradicate systemic racisim from all corners of their organizations — and take actions to ensure that every employee, customer, and supplier in their ecosystem feels welcomed and respected.
This activities are a great start to what I hope is an age of enlightment and action, but there is a lot of work to be done. One tangible and highly visible place to start is a corporation's web experience. Digital facing platforms should reflect the face of the customers that they are engaging with. Otherwise, statements about cultural sensitivity and inclusion fall short.
When researching and designing, American designers often take a WEIRD (western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic) view and don't often challenge their own biases. This bleeds through into experiences, alienating users in unintended ways.
In this resource, I am going to walk you through some aspects of creating websites for highly diverse, global audiences. I personally experienced this challenge while leading the vision and strategy for Cat.com, a website which served audiences in every corner of the world. The website included 24 different languages and locales, each of which had sub-regional variances and sub-cultures to take in to account.
Beyond this resource, if you are looking for a deeper dive into building cross-cultural experiences I recommend starting with this book by Senongo Akpem called Cross-Cultural Design. I'll also include a list resources below.
Part 1: Cross-Cultural Considerations
I put together a list of items to ponder as you are designing for global or multi-cultural audiences. In in addition to various cultures, different regions have different device, connectivity, and website usage trends. Further, the way that they see the world and relate to others may vary. Keep list by your side and reference it throughout your projects.