Hey folks, welcome back to our series of videos on design principles. On this video we're going to focusing on cultural factors. And on this video, I have a three goals I want us to accomplish. The first is, to introduce a definition of culture that functional for user interface design. The second, is to give you a sense of the implications of culture for technology use. So if you give the same technology to two people from vastly different cultures. How will they use the technology differently? Will their perceptions of that technology differ and these types of things. Obviously, there is a huge series of literature on this topic. Let me give you a sample, so you understand what's going on. And then lastly, we'll discuss what this means for user interface design, user experience design. How can we design systems that work across all cultures and many cultures. Instead of just friends and it's the one that we're in. All right, let's jump in and define culture. Well this is the reaction that I have whenever I'm tasked with defining culture and perhaps you might have as well. Culture, is a very complex construct there are many, many different definitions in a vast variety of fields, right. So tons of fields interact with culture and tons of field have different definitions. And within each field, there are many, [LAUGH] many different definitions as well. Every single definition that I've encountered is controversial in some way. If you have a research paper that interacts with culture, you always have to be careful about making sure that, folks who disagree with the definition you use. I understand where you are coming from and why you chose that definition. Otherwise, people justify what they point out and this is actually a very good high level point here, no one single definition of culture is perfect right, every definition has some flaws. And that's why there is controversy especially, in such a sensitive area and important area like culture. So my advice to you is basically, to find definition that is practical for your needs. If you're doing user interface design use your experiences design like culture. And one that is practical that I find to be helpful is this one from Herbert Clark, he is actually a psycholinguist. So, this is a definition of culture from a psycholinguistics and according to his definition cultural communist are very simple. They're define by groups of people who had a common set of knowledge and this means that cultures can come from all sorts of different directions, right. There are all sorts of dimensions of people who have a common set of knowledge. For instance, people from the same country tend to have a common set of knowledge. So for instance, myself and James who's sitting behind the camera, we all sort of understand how the American political system works. We all roughly understand how to pay our taxes, wouldn't know a lot about American history and so on and so forth. Of course, people who speak the same language have a great deal of shared common knowledge. But this is also true in things or dimensions that people don't typically think of when they think of culture gender, right. Each gender tends to have a set of common knowledge. There are issues, for instance health issues, that men might know more about or women might know more about. Same is true for religion, education, profession, socioeconomic status, whether you live in an urban or rural area and it goes on and on and on, age, these types of things. Now within a user interface design, user experiences design context when people use the word culture, they often imply national culture and it's correlates. So obviously, when someone says national culture with respect to say, China and has certain religious implications or has language implications and there are other correlates as well. When people who use term culture and user interfaces design, they generally mean, a nationalities. That's not to say that people don't study, how to design systems for various cultures for on other dimensions. For instance, in their specialization you've seen videos about how they design for older folks and for younger folks. Later in this course, we'll talk about how to design for different socioeconomic statuses. But when people use this term culture, it often does mean nationally within a user interface design context. Another sort of terminology oriented point I want to make is that, very often within this national culture framework people bubble up and make this division between Eastern national cultures and Western national cultures. Always makes me a little uncomfortable to talk about this division or this spectrum. Because obviously, as I'm from San Francisco Bay area, they were a lot of people from Eastern national cultures living as my neighbor, as my friends and this types of things, within a Western national culture country and vice versa, right. But base on the literature, folks who grew up in a country [LAUGH] on either side of this spectrum, do tend to have some different characteristics that are important for technology design. So I believe this in practice, although, I think that the economy at least is a little uncomfortable, okay. So that's all I want to say about defining culture, let's move on to talking about what culture means, for in terms of how people use technology. Two high level points here, one its very important to remember there are far more similarities on how people use technology across all cultures, then there are differences, right. It's not that some people use their iPhones upside down, right [LAUGH] or it's not that people prefer to have three phones in one country and just one in another country. In general, a lot more similarities than differences. But it's also important to point out that, there are some important and robust differences and I'd split these differences into two levels. One is the obvious stuff, we'll go through that first. And secondly, I'll give you a sense of some of the less obvious stuff. It operates at quite a low level and has wider implications. One is to make sure, I point it out yet again, be careful not to overblow these differences, right. The emphasis on similarities is more important than the presence of differences, although it's important to be aware of the presents or the potential depressant for differences, okay. Let's go and get started here talking about some [INAUDIBLE] differences, starting with the straight forward of the obvious ones. And the most obvious one, is that people and different national cultures often speak different languages, it's not always true. So if people in the United Kingdom, speak the same language I'm speaking right now, part of Canada speak the same language I'm speaking right now. But many cases, when we're taking the technology built in one country and trying to, what's called localize it to another country, translating all of the tasked is task number one. That awesome more interesting component of this language related localization that's other one, just translation. Lauren or Dr Traveen mentioned this, in his introduction to the series of videos, right. When you're dealing with a national culture that has a right to left language, Hebrew or Arabic, the logical task flow when we talked about layout, right. You want to make sure your user elements are laid out according to the logical task flow for a given culture. And in many cases, that's top to bottom and left to right. But for languages that are written from right to left, Hebrew or Arabic, you go to the other way, so it's top to bottom, right to left. And you can see this design for instance Lauren, this is a screenshot from Dr Traveen's slides, right. You can see this here, picture first then by, if you look at the U.S. version of amazon.com it's the other way, okay. Another very straightforward difference that is important to remember. And it can get you in a lot of trouble but is really pretty trivial, is to remember that people in different national cultures find different things offensive. And a nice story comes from. The interaction of the Ford Pinto in Brazil. I won't show you what Pinto means in Brazilian slang, but you're welcome to Google that yourself. It's not a nice term. Ford didn't consider this, and Ford had a lot of trouble selling Ford Pintos in Brazil as a result. There are all sorts of funny and money losing examples of people forgetting to recognize that different national cultures find different things offensive and I recommend you check out some of those online. They are very easy to google. Okay the last of these straightforward differences I want to cover in terms of how technology is used in different national cultures is to remember that technology is often used in different national cultures in different contexts. So a colleague of mine was recently telling a story about a piece of educational software that was built for primary schools in the United States. In primary schools in the United States there is a lot of individual work that's done, not exclusively, of course. And particularly historically there is a lot of individual work that's been done and certainly evaluation is done on the individual level. But in other countries, that's not so much the case. So for instance when folks were trying to adapt this primary school education software platform for Argentina where there's more collaborative interaction, particularly in southern parts of Argentina, it was a major change. So the software initially kind of failed because it didn't fit the context of the use of educational software in Argentina. This is a surface level difference. So it's something that's very straight forward to understand, but also incredibly important and can result in relatively dramatic technological failures, in the same way that naming your product in an offensive fashion can. That one's easier to fix, but both of them can have similar implications. Okay so that's all I want to talk about in terms of surface level differences with regards to culture and differences in technology use. Let's dig down a bit and look at lower-level differences. The first one I want to talk about is that there's a lot of research that suggests that people from different countries have different preferences with regard to how they like things to look. That's the informal way of saying what has been found. The more formal way is they have different preferences with regard to visual and color complexity. This is a figure I grabbed from a paper by Reinecke and Gajos, they published it at ACM Sinkai in 2014. You guys have all seen a bunch of Sinkai papers at this point. And you can see on the x-axis of these charts is essentially the amount of visual and color complexity. Let's see, I believe that red here is color complexity and blue is visual complexity. Visual complexity is essentially how many things are on a web page or how many things are in an interface. And on the Y axis here you can see how much people like things. So for instance here in the United States you can see that with regard to the red, as things got more and more and more colorful to a certain point people liked it, but then things dropped off. And the same type of deal with visual complexity, although the drop-off happens sooner and is more gradual. Okay. Well, all of these curves have roughly a similar shape, right, which is a peak somewhere. You can see there are quite a few differences, and I called out one here in particular. This is Hong Kong. You can see Hong Kong has a relatively flat color complexity curve, meaning that people liked, in this case, websites with a lot of different colors, a lot of color complexity as much as they did websites with much less color complexity. You can see that that is not the case in the United States. As things got much more complex, people stopped liking the websites as much. And what do you know, if you look at the KFC website from Hong Kong here. There are a lot of colors there, contrast that to the KFC website for the United States, many fewer colors, right? So this is something the designers are aware of and have implemented. Okay, another key lower level difference between cultures that has been observed is that people in eastern cultures tend to pay more attention to context than people in Western Cultures. We're more focused on individual objects, to simplify the research a great deal. And this paper by Dong and Fu was a nice example of how this matters for technology. So one thing that people do a lot is they tag things these days. So on Instagram, Flickr, these types of things, people are tagging photos. And in this paper, they found that people from Eastern cultures, in this case China, the first tag the chose tended to reflect the context of the photo or talk about the entire photo or relationship between objects in the photo, so contextual things. And in western cultures, in this case the United States, they focused on the primary object which is exactly what we would expect given the findings related to context and culture. So for instance you can see here that Americans tended to tag the main object like the boy more than the Chinese participants. And the opposite is true for a contextual tag like sunny. Okay, another low level difference between cultural groups that matters for people, how people use technology. This is a big one [LAUGH]. Hofestede's dimensions. Hofestede's dimensions are pretty controversial, and I debated whether or not I wanted to bring them up here as a result. But given how popular they are in some crowds, I felt it would be useful to talk about. It also presents an interesting framework for technology designers. So, long story short, Hofstede did some work a long time ago, a few decades ago and he's been updating it since, that found a series of dimensions that different national cultures vary on. So, I went to Hofstede's website here, he has a couple books. He's a social psychologist. A couple of books where this is laid out in great deal of detail. I actually cite those on the last slide, so if you're interested you can take a look. But you can see here are Hofstede's dimensions, and they have grown a bit over time in number, but to give you a sense of how they work you can see grey here is China, blue is United States, and green is India. And one of the dimensions is the amount of individualism as opposed to collectivism. So eastern cultures tend to be more collective in nature and in the United States and other western cultures, we tend to be more individualistic. And you can see the United States is a 91 on the individualism scale, whereas China is 20 and India is somewhere in between. Okay so why does this matter for technology? Well there's a recent paper by Yang and colleagues at Microsoft Research that found, although not conclusively in terms of a causational direction, but there certainly was a correlation between individualism ratings of the national culture and how often they sought out information via asking their friends on Facebook or other social media versus going to search engine like Google. I can say that as an N of one here, as an American, I'm much more comfortable searching for information on Google than I am asking my friends for information. I would only do that if necessary. But other individual people and perhaps other cultures as well on average might feel differently. Okay, so if you're interested in learning more about Hofstede, all sorts of references at the end of this lecture. Okay, so that's what I wanted to say in terms of giving a sense of how cultural differences can manifest in differences in technologies. Next thing I want to cover is what do we do about it? Well in this case, there's kind of bad news. There aren't really easy solutions. The most important thing as a user experience designer that you need to know is that you need to be aware of potential major differences and how different national cultures and their correlates, right, so different countries and different religion, etc., may perceive and use your technology If you don't do it, you will run into, as I mentioned with the Ford Pinto, the education software, you'll potentially run into a large globalization failure that can lead to embarrassment for your company. And certainly lost revenue, because you're not able to tap into, for instance, a large market like Brazil. The way you find out if there is a cultural problem, or the way you figure out how to fix it if you identify one, is user-research predominantly. This is one area where despite, it's not like I can point you to a website that has color palettes that are color-blind safe, right? This is one thing where you really need to go on the ground. And I think a great sort of example of how this is true comes from the fact that a lot of my colleagues and friends who work as user experience researchers in Silicon Valley companies. They're constantly flying around the world to investigate some cultural difference that's been observed in how people are using the Silicon Valley company's technologies, right? So it might be in Japan, it might be in the Philippines, might be in Indonesia. But very often, people will see a blip, either a blip up or a blip down [LAUGH] in the log data and they'll send user experience researchers, right? To figure out what's going on. Now that said, there are few things you could do, without, excuse me, without users, without doing user research. And we've already covered some of them, right? So some things are obvious. You don't need to send a user experience team at the cost of $100,000 to, excuse me, to Israel to figure out that you should lay out your task flows from right to left instead of left to right, right? That's straightforward, we know that. If we didn't think it was obvious, we've seen lots of examples of success where this works better than the other way around. Okay, another thing you can do is use simple tools like Google. To be fair, had Google existed when, [LAUGH] when the Ford Pinto was introduced in Brazil, they might have been able to use it. But had they typed in this type of query, right, Ford Pinto Brazil, or just Pinto Brazil slang, they would have seen that they needed to rename their product. This is something that's easy, but it's often forgotten. So just because it's easy, please do it again. [LAUGH] All right, three, and two, and one. Okay, another thing you can do is very simple, but just because it's simple please don't forget it. Use tools like Google to make sure that the words you use and the examples you use aren't going to be problematic in important national cultures. Or, ideally, in all national cultures in which you're going to be launching your product. So had Google existed many decades ago, when Ford Pinto was introduced in Brazil, they could have use Google to type in Pinto Brazil slang. And they would have found that they should have renamed their product and saved a whole ton of money, probably in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars, at least in today's dollars. So don't forget to include this in your localization workflow. But most importantly, there really is no replacement for user research. For instance, in the case of how technology is going to be used, the context, right? We talked about that. It's very difficult, in many cases, to figure out that in certain parts of Argentina students learn more collaboratively than in most parts of the United States. That's often the type of thing you need to send someone down to do user research to figure out. And we will be teaching you all sorts of ways to do user research in this specialization. And with that, here's a whole bunch of references you can take a look at if you're interested in culture and technology in more detail. For what it's worth, I find every single one of these references to be at least very interesting, even if you don't agree with their conclusions or their assumptions. And with that, I'll be seeing you in the next video.