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24 ways to impress your friends

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J-P Stacey

Useful to bring the cultural aspects of international design to the fore: embarrassing cross-border gaffes made by big-name brands have passed into folklore. I’d not noticed the contrasts within the BBC’s family of sites before, or at any rate that they had cultural significance.

One thing important to note is that there are really no hard and fast rules here: the audiences of different sites will have different mixes of cultures, and to apply a lowest common denominator to them all is safest but often means throwing the baby out with the bath-water e.g: scrapping iconic visual shortcuts, even though your site’s particular mix of cultures could happily accept some carefully chosen pictorial icons; or using blue for all your livery and making bits of the site difficult to differentiate.

As Mr. Khmerang might be implying, should this be considered a component of usability testing? For a site to consider itself truly international, should its testers be taken from a multiplicity of cultures? More radically, should its coders and designers be chosen on that basis, given that the earliest you can consider these things, the easier it would be to implement them? (Can that be even done, given employment and discrimination law?)