SPECIFICITY OF WEB USER INTERFACE (WUI) ORGANIZATION IN DIFFERENT CULTURES

SPECIFICITY OF WEB USER INTERFACE (WUI) ORGANIZATION IN DIFFERENT CULTURES

Exploring cultural differences, R. Nisbett  identifi­ed several factors, which vary depending on the cultural affiliation and have influence on the behavior of individuals: «attention to the field» dominates in the East, and «attention to the main objects» – in the West. Nisbett carried out a series of experiments with American and Japanese users, which showed that the Japanese were paying attention to the features of the surrounding background about 70% more often than Americans were, even though they both were equally likely to mention the details of main content. In addition, Japanese almost twice as often noted uncertain linkages and relationships with the environment.

Nisbett saw the roots of these differences in the cognitive-semiotic mechanisms inherited from either holistic (ancient Chinese) or from the analytic (ancient Greek) system of understanding the world. Moreover, relying upon G. Hofstede’s studies , it is possible to conclude that Asians are more liable to perceive the whole picture almost without using the division into categories and formal logic. They rely on the dialectical and empirical aspects. At the same time, Europeans prefer strict cataloging and formal structure.

M. Holodnaya’s research

According to M. Holodnaya’s research (Holodnaya, 2004), cognitive style reflects the way of perceiving, analyzing, structuring and categorization of the world, the style of learning. «High cognitive complexity» dominates in most Western cultures that means a multi-dimensional model of reality in a variety of relationships. While Eastern cultures are characterized by «low cognitive complexity» – unique, simplified interpretation of reality.

All of this specificity should be somehow reflected on the user interaction with e-resources, and understanding of it will help to adapt e-resources to socio-cultural preferences of users. Developers, who have to deal with users of different cultural groups, of course, should consider the above-mentioned features. First of all, the following should be taken into account when structuring and cataloging information: the representatives of Western cultures often requires detailed information on a specific aspect, whereas representatives of Asian cultures will probably want to explore a question in common. Initially it was assumed that the factor uniting user and interface is information.

the classification of R. Lewis

Now it is widely thought that it is activity [4]. It seems to us that both factors have a place to be: working with information and forming ideas about the subject should be considered as a strategic activity, while the interaction with the interface aimed at obtaining this information — as a tactical activity. It is possible to define activity as a set of actions, which ensure meeting the goal. It can be assumed that in different cultures the structures of acting differ by the spatio-temporal characteristics. Following the classification of R. Lewis, the specificity of the different cultures can be classified in monoactive, poliactive and reactive styles.

Interface creation and design in a pragmatic way can be reflected with a «model of the world» metaphor. Therefore, the main task of interface ergonomic design modeling and preparing content for e-resource is analyzing the following criteria for the construction of a model:

  • Consideration of the relationship of thinking and acting specificity activity and choice of user interface elements in the sense of cultural specificity;
  • The type and content of information (cultural-specific parameters);
  • The structure and sequence of the elements positioning on the screen, the number and detail of elements in the field of perception (pragmatic specificity);
  • Semantic analysis of expressions and professional terminology — instructions, tips, names of system elements and their pragmatic adequateness;
  • Techniques of nonverbal coding as icons, signals, colored images;
  • Presence of adequate feedback. In other words, general design-typographic aspects of the text, which are the most appropriate for the perception of textual information by the user. All requirements submitted for ergonomic e-resource interface organization can be divided into four main categories:
  • Navigation;
  • Architectonics and structure of the page;
  • Ability of getting feedback, access, updating content, the dominant style of representation of information;
  • Color and font decision;

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