Culture and E-Commerce: Culture Based Preferences for Interface Information Design

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Virginia Tech

Global companies face the challenge of offering their products or services to a wider audience. While the Internet has made it easier to distribute information globally, information design for different cultures is still very difficult. Cultural models can be used to identify differences between cultures that may have an effect on how people make decisions. Geert Hofstede (1980, 1997) has defined a cultural model with five dimensions. One of these dimensions, individualism vs. collectivism has been shown to affect the type of information people prefer when viewing printed advertisements.

A study was conducted to determine if the individualism vs. collectivism dimension affects the type of information Anglo-American and Hispanic-American people prefer for purchasing tasks in a computer-based environment. The findings of this study suggest that there is no difference between the cultures on preference for information. Nonetheless, there are cultural aspects that have to be considered when designing interfaces for a Hispanic audience as opposed to an Anglo-American audience. Based in these cultural aspects, design guidelines were developed. These aspects are the basis of the design guidelines provided in this paper.

human-computer interaction, culture and computers, cultural effects, Cultural differences