Towards culture-centred design


Prior, S., Shen, S. and Woolley, M. 2006. Towards culture-centred design. Interacting with Computers. 18 (4), pp. 820-852.
TitleTowards culture-centred design
AuthorsPrior, S., Shen, S. and Woolley, M.

This work outlines an ongoing collaborative research project between the National Formosa University in Taiwan and the PDRC research group at Middlesex, which focuses on the cultural context of computer interfaces – specifically a Computer Operating System and Web Browser design for ethnic Chinese users.
This paper addresses culturally rooted factors within user interface design. The design implications of globalisation are discussed, together with the related processes of internationalisation, localisation, ‘glocalisation', iconisation and culturalisation, in order to establish a basis for a new approach to HCI design. The potential for a more diverse culture-centred, design-based system, ‘Culture-Centred Design' (CCD) is introduced, and a CCD process developed. A redesigned computer interface, incorporating a consistent and culturally rooted metaphor for a Chinese user target group is discussed. A culturally specific ‘garden' metaphor was developed and applied as an alternative to the current global ‘office' or ‘desktop' metaphor. A working demonstration of the interface was piloted with a group of Chinese users to assess its success in terms of interactivity, usability and cultural significance. The overall results of the first two evaluation phases have shown very positive outcomes for the use of the CCD system and Chinese garden metaphor.
As a measure of interest generated amongst practitioners, this paper was placed number 3 in the Science Direct TOP25 articles for the period July-Sept 2006.
This collaborative research work is continuing to develop and has resulted in a further publication: “Shen, S.T., Prior, S.D., Chen, K.M. and Woolley, M. (2007), The Design of a Culturalised Web Browser for Chinese Users, Proceedings of the International Association of Societies of Design Research – IASDR07, 12-15 November, Hong Kong”.

JournalInteracting with Computers
Publication dates
Print31 Jul 2006
Publication process dates
Deposited13 Nov 2008
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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