Culture and the importance of usability attributes

Steve Wallace*, Adrian Reid, Daniel Clinciu, Jin-Su Kang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study into cultural usability aims to identify whether the importance of usability attributes varied between nationalities, and whether this variance was related to cultural dimensions. Design/methodology/approach: A total of 144 subjects from four countries were surveyed on the importance they placed on the usability attributes of cell phones. Results were compared by country, and relationships with cultural dimensions were investigated. Findings: For each country, usability attributes were not rated equally. Across countries, no difference in the rating of effectiveness was found, while ratings of efficiency and satisfaction varied significantly. In addition, the study identified significant relationships between the importance given to efficiency and satisfaction and cultural dimensions identified by Hofstede and the World Values Survey, with values relating to task-orientation influencing efficiency, and non-task oriented values affecting the importance users place on satisfaction. Practical implications: Product designers and usability practitioners need to consider these cultural differences when designing products and when evaluating, measuring, and making recommendations on product usability. Originality/value: Previous studies in this area have shown the existence of differences in preference for usability attributes based on nationality. No studies known to the authors have connected this to cultural dimensions. Understanding of this connection supports usability practitioners in their work not just in specific countries but also in cultural regions. It also allows the more precise modeling by researchers of culture's interaction with usability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-93
Number of pages17
JournalInformation Technology and People
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2013


  • Cultural dimensions
  • Cultural usability
  • Culture (sociology)
  • Mobile communication systems
  • Usability attributes

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