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A Framework for Cultural Localization of Websites and for Improving Their Commercial Utilization

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Abstract

Cultural localization of websites is at present a relevant topic that has a potential to increase the commercial use of the websites of companies that operate or want to operate in multiple countries or regions. This chapter presents a basic survey of websites as culturally sensitive media. It is based on an extensive research of available literature on the subject and comprises more than 80 studies. These sources show that the study of the interconnectedness of culture and websites is examined primarily by using Hofstede's and Hall's cultural dimensions. The main part of the chapter is a detailed analysis of 14 seminal studies focusing on cultural localization of websites, and a subsequent aggregation of the individual conclusions arising from them. This is the basis on which a holistic Framework was created, connecting a total of more than 150 cultural features to the respective cultural dimensions. The proposed Framework can be used by web specialists for cultural localization of websites.
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Chapter 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2727-5.ch013
ABSTRACT
Cultural localization of websites is at present a relevant topic that has a potential to increase the com-
mercial use of the websites of companies that operate or want to operate in multiple countries or regions.
This chapter presents a basic survey of websites as culturally sensitive media. It is based on an extensive
research of available literature on the subject and comprises more than 80 studies. These sources show
that the study of the interconnectedness of culture and websites is examined primarily by using Hofstede’s
and Hall’s cultural dimensions. The main part of the chapter is a detailed analysis of 14 seminal studies
focusing on cultural localization of websites, and a subsequent aggregation of the individual conclusions
arising from them. This is the basis on which a holistic Framework was created, connecting a total of
more than 150 cultural features to the respective cultural dimensions. The proposed Framework can be
used by web specialists for cultural localization of websites.
INTRODUCTION
With the development of computers, Internet, and information literacy, websites have become more
important for companies, individuals, and public or governmental institutions. Websites today are
among the most important information channels. The Internet also contributes to the development of
globalization. Many companies today operate outside the country of their origin and become a part of
the market with different cultural habits. This fact leads to a necessity for adapting the communication
A Framework for Cultural
Localization of Websites
and for Improving Their
Commercial Utilization
Radim Cermak
University of Economics, Czech Republic
Zdenek Smutny
University of Economics, Czech Republic
Fulltext available in personal homepage space
http://nb.vse.cz/~xsmuz00/files/A-Framework-for-Cultural-Localization-of-Websites.pdf
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A Framework for Cultural Localization of Websites
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KEY TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
Cultural Adaptation of Websites: Process of adjustment of culturally sensitive parts of websites. It
is a synonym for cultural localization of websites. It can be found a slightly different terminology used
by various authors.
Cultural Features: The culture is represented by various features which are associated with particular
society. These features can differ across distinct cultures.
Cultural Localization: Process of adjustment of culturally sensitive parts of the product. In the field
of websites, it is mainly the localization of content and webdesign (Graphical User Interface).
Culturally Sensitive Medium: Medium that is affected by culture. This leads to the presence of
features or elements that are culture-related.
Website Elements: Elements that form a website. It means concrete elements such as search box,
menu, form, heading etc.
Website Localization: Process of adjustment of various aspects of websites in a way that correspond
to the culture, language, legislation and other aspects of the target market.
Website Properties: Properties which affect appearance or functionality of website. It can be de-
scribed in more general way.
ENDNOTE
1 In this article, a framework is understood as an artifact that connects two or more components of
the investigated system and sets the rules for their interconnection. Within the Framework proposed
in this chapter, this concerns the connection of web features and elements with cultural character-
istics, and the chapter also introduces a basic procedure for its use when designing websites that
take into account cultural differences.
... For example, monotonous interfaces should be proposed to users from highly individualistic countries such as France. Cermak [38] summarizes the links between website technical characteristics and cultural dimensions into a framework. Thus, the webmaster will have to adapt the website to the culture of the customers in order to improve their user experience. ...
... Two categories of criteria were selected from the literature [8]- [10], [34], [38], one concerning the website technical characteristics called websiteCriteria (wC) and the other concerning the product description characteristics called productDescriptionCriteria (pdC). Based on [38], five websiteCriteria (wC) were selected (1): ...
... Two categories of criteria were selected from the literature [8]- [10], [34], [38], one concerning the website technical characteristics called websiteCriteria (wC) and the other concerning the product description characteristics called productDescriptionCriteria (pdC). Based on [38], five websiteCriteria (wC) were selected (1): ...
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Universal UX Design: Building Multicultural User Experience provides an ideal guide as multicultural UX continues to emerge as a transdisciplinary field that, in addition to the traditional UI and corporate strategy concerns, includes socio/cultural and neurocognitive concerns that constitute one of the first steps in a truly global product strategy. In short, multicultural UX is no longer a nice-to-have in your overall UX strategy, it is now a must-have. This practical guide teaches readers about international concerns on the development of a uniquely branded, yet culturally appealing, software end-product. With hands-on examples throughout, readers will learn how to accurately predict user behavior, optimize layout and text elements, and integrate persuasive design in layout, as well as how to determine which strategies to communicate image and content more effectively, while demystifying the psychological and sociopolitical factors associated with culture. The book reviews the essentials of cognitive UI perception and how they are affected by socio-cultural conditioning, as well as how different cultural bias and expectations can work in UX design. Teaches how to optimize design using internationalization techniques Explores how to develop web and mobile internationalization frameworks Presents strategies for effectively reaching a multicultural audience Reviews the essentials of cognitive UI perception and the related effects of socio-cultural conditioning, as well as how different cultural bias and expectations can work in UX design
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E-businesses have experienced the challenges of developing global web sites that serve consumers with different national cultures. Researchers have studied the influence that national cultural values have on technology-related beliefs and behaviors, and have noted the need for further research on cultural issues. This study investigates the influence of national cultural values on acceptance of a personal web portal by users in China and the United States. Subjects from these two countries evaluated country-specific versions of a personal web portal designed to support the gathering of news, blogs, and other shared information and to provide communication features. The five national cultural dimensions of power distance, individualism/collectivism, masculinity/femininity, uncertainty avoidance, and time orientation were measured at the individual level to enable assessment of the influence from each cultural dimension on technology beliefs and adoption intentions. A research model integrating both moderating and direct effects of cultural values was proposed. Individualism and time orientation were found to influence perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness directly. No moderating cultural effects were significant. The results stress the importance of including the cultural value of time orientation in studies of technology acceptance and measuring cultural values at the individual level. Our findings suggest that e-businesses should continue to focus on the cultural congruency of global web sites and consider how personalization features may assist in pursuit of this congruency.
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The acceleration of globalization and the growth of emerging economies present significant opportunities for business expansion. One of the quickest ways to achieve effective international expansion is by leveraging the web, which allows for technological connectivity of global markets and opportunities to compete on a global basis. To systematically engage and thrive in this networked global economy, professionals and students need a new skill set; one that can help them develop, manage, assess and optimize efforts to successfully launch websites for tapping global markets. This book provides a comprehensive, non-technical guide to leveraging website localization strategies for global e-commerce success. It contains a wealth of information and advice, including strategic insights into how international business needs to evolve and adapt in light of the rapid proliferation of the 'Global Internet Economy'. It also features step-by-step guidelines to developing, managing and optimizing international-multilingual websites and insights into cutting-edge web localization strategies.
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Web localization is a cognitive, textual, communicative and technological process by which interactive web texts are modified to be used by audiences in different sociolinguistic contexts.
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine whether cultural backgrounds of nations are expressed through the web design of their companies. Actually, it investigates whether, in countries characterized by the same cultural matrix and language but by different national backgrounds, the cultural specificities of a country are a critical success factor for web design and enablers of business excellence. Design/methodology/approach – Starting from a deep literature review, four research hypotheses on the relationship between cultural background and web design are formulated. By employing both the content analysis and the cross-tabulation methodology, these hypotheses are tested. Findings – Brazilian, Portuguese, Angolan and Macanese web sites show that companies operating in these countries are aware that cultural background is a necessary success factor to consider for improving cross-cultural management of computer-mediated communication. Indeed, the findings confirm that the internet is not a culturally neutral communication medium. By providing evidences of web site cultural adaptation, this study supports the use of a targeted approach to web site design and provides managerial guidelines for improving business excellence of companies’ online environment. Originality/value – The paper offers insights into the topic of a culturally adapted computer-mediated communication for improving consumer experience.