The world and the digital experiences that connect us are more than words and images, zeroes and ones. They’re ideas. Values. Norms. Traditions. Expectations. And all of those have to be properly and appropriately represented by your team to your users. It only takes one jarring or culturally insensitive experience to give a customer the impression that you don’t know them, or worse- you don’t care.
So what’s the best way to reduce the chances of offending or excluding your audience? ASK QUESTIONS.
Designing, building, and implementing top-notch experiences not only requires a great deal of planning, strategy, and time – it also requires the right digital experience platform (DXP) and the right development approach for your business needs.
The best investment you can possibly make is culturally-inclusive user research with participants who live and work in every region that your website will have a presence. Their perspective, intentions, needs, and preferences absolutely have to be taken into consideration early and consistently throughout the process. Ask if you can circle back with them to give input on content, design, and the nuances of language. Ensure your audience personas reflect diverse characteristics that might be unique or specific to certain cultures or parts of the world and make sure the digital experience they have is respectful of their real lives. Make their sign-off a part of your approval process and thank them often for their input and incentivize their participation with gift cards or other perks whenever possible. No one’s time is free.
*Because the focus of this topic is multicultural and multilingual representation, it shouldn’t exclude other diverse backgrounds such as race and ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation, household income, age range, level of education, (dis)ability status or type, religious or political affiliation. It’s nearly impossible to find representation for every group, but a genuine effort should be made to recruit and include a wide range of demographics in all user research.
Alongside culturally-inclusive research should be internal marketing and content teams that represent those areas of the world as well. Their perspective, input, and approval can help create content and experiences that are valuable, authentic, and aligned with your audience. Like your research participants, your content team should be an integral part of the creation and approval process as well.
We will keep revisiting Cultural Inclusion as a theme in the remaining chapters of this series because it’s woven into everything we decide- how we handle translation, how we manage and govern assets, how we address accessibility, etc. And as with everything, we are still learning and evolving, so this series may evolve to reflect that as well.