UPA usability journal focuses on international, cross-cultural aspects

Most of the articles in the fourth issue of the Journal of Usability Studies (a publication of the Usability Professionals’ Associaton) have a global flavor addressing issues of international, cross-cultural aspects of usability.

The Journal of Usability Studies, published by the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA), is a peer-reviewed, international, online publication dedicated to promote and enhance the practice, research, and education of usability engineering.

The invited essay is written by Elizabeth Rosenzweig who leads the UPA international initiative of the World Usability Day. In her essay World Usability Day: A challenge for everyone (pdf, 44 kb, 5 pages) she outlines the agenda to change the world, at least when it comes to usability.

Considering evaluating the usability of an international web site or product? According to Ravi Vatrapu and Manuel A. Pérez-Quiñones in their article: Culture and Usability Evaluation: The Effects of Culture in Structured Interviews make sure you have someone from the target cultures on your team. They demonstrated that the origin culture of the interviewer can impact the outcomes of interviews with target users. If you are after finding usability problems, your interviewer should be from the same culture as the interviewees.

On a related note, Kraig Finstad in his short article: The System Usability Scale and Non-Native English Speakers suggests that some findings based on the popular System Usability Scale (SUS) may also be susceptible to cultural differences. He demonstrated that some words may not be clear to people from cultures other than North American, and that the use of other words maybe appropriate.

Konstantinos Chorianopoulos in his article: Animated Character Likeability Revisited: The Case of Interactive TV suggests that the use of animated characters in interactive TV applications can be viable for more leisure-type activities. Important to note that in this study, the use of emotional metrics for usability was implemented successfully, and it is just another indication of the evolution in the concept of usability and the practice of its evaluation.

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