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AIM OF THE PROJECT – Cultural Usability

This project aims to investigate the impact of culture on the results of established methods of usability testing. The production and use of technologically advanced information and communication applications are no longer restricted to the Western world, and there are indications that usability testing procedures developed for use in, e.g., Europe or the US do not give reliable results in countries such as India, China or Malaysia. This project is an in-depth investigation of the cultural specifics that go into usability test situations in three countries: Denmark, India and China. In a second phase we want to explore possible developments of the testing methods in order to avoid cultural bias and produce comparable results across countries of the world. The proposed project is a collaborative one, involving senior researchers in all three countries where testing will occur, as well as advisers from world wide companies based in US and Europe and from institutions elsewhere.

This research is relevant for Denmark in a variety of ways: Denmark represents the type of society for which usability testing methodology was developed and Danish researchers can therefore provide crucial insight into the intended workings of the methods; Denmark is already strongly represented in the international research activities in the area of culture and usability with several Danish research groups, including an established research group focussing on human-computer interaction at CBS in Copenhagen, providing specialist knowledge and experience of the issues at hand, and this project promises to further enhance the Danish research profile internationally.

Culturalusability WP siteFUTURE – USE OF RESULTS
Future practical application of the results of this research may benefit the marketing of Danish products in Asia, and the project’s theoretical contribution can be one of the pillars in strengthening the movement towards user-driven innovation in the Danish computer software industry. Danish Usability professionals will improve their understanding of usability in other parts of the world and their ability to configure usability evaluation methods cross culturally in e.g. Indian and Chinese settings or ethnic minority settings within Europe and Denmark.