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Cultural Issues and Their Relevance in Designing Usable Websites

Author(s): Alao Olujimi Daniel, Awodele Oludele, | Rehema Baguma, | Theo van der Weide

Journal: International Journal of Innovative Technology and Creative Engineering
ISSN 2045-869X

Volume: 1;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 20;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Human Computer Interaction (HCI) | Web Usability | Culture/User Centered Design | Cultural dimensions

Cultural characteristics of users play a significant role in their interactions and understanding of web based systems. Hence consideration of cultural issues in the design of a web based system can improve the usability of such a system. The relation between culture and the internet is symbiotic, that is, experience obtained from using the internet (with its rich cultural diversity) can also have an influence on the local culture. This makes culture a moving target. However to-date, not much research has been done about what cultural issues influence the usability of websites and the level of influence. This paper examines theoretically the cultural issues that influence web design/usability and the significance of this influence to the general usability of a website and also establish how culture can be utilized to develop more usable websites. Thus the main contribution of this study is to identify what characterizes usable websites with reference to cultural needs of the user, specific web features applicable to cultural dimension that that can enhance cultural understanding and help web designers to customize the web sites to specific cultures.

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