March 21, 2005

Do users really cares about culture when it comes to web design?

I found this quite curious:

"One of the most time consuming conversations in the company is the extent to which the look & feel of this template is appropriate for each local market, with country managers always claiming that the site needs to have a more local look & feel.

This is despite the fact that we have standardized our offline brochure design worldwide for years. The only country we have tested this on is Korea, where we implemented a 'Korean' looking homepage to appease the country manager, and found it had no impact on conversion."

From Standard Global Site Templates Beat Asia-Specific Design

And from an earlier story Exclusive Results Data from VistaPrint's Top 10 Marketing Tests:

Test #10. Generic versus cultural Web design

Although VistaPrint hires a native of each country to be in charge of marketing for his or her own country's site, the sites are constructed using generic templates. Language and prices are translated of course, but not overall style.

Holian figured it might not be optimum, but this system saved a great deal of wear and tear on the site design and engineering team.

But when VistaPrint launched in Japan, the Japanese-born marketer absolutely insisted the company develop a cultural-specific site.

Holian agreed to a test. So the company launched not one but two Japanese sites -- one using the standard template and the other copying typical Japanese site design -- and split incoming traffic.

The standard template won. Looking like a Japanese site wasn't critical as long as the language and pricing were localized.

Of course, they don't provide any details on their test methodology or any real I'm left curious what other research might confirm or dispute these findings.

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