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Usability testing in different countries: a look inside

Client: UXAllianceOpen in a new window
End date: November 2011
Service provided: Usability-consulting

Providing usability researchesin different countries among different cultures researchers face withunexpected challenges.


To help specialists avoid mistakes during working on local projects in countries which culture differs from researchers’ native one UXalliance experts implemented systematization of data they collected during their own worldwide projects for alliance clients.

UXAllianceOpen in a new window unites best usability companies from 25 countries that jointly provided more than 250 researches, which engaged more than 15 000 participants.


According to the analysis results experts have created guidelines one should stand by while providing researches in different countries. The full version is available in the Handbook Of Global User ResearchOpen in a new window. Below there are some basic conclusions from this book:

  • The best decision before session planning isto consult with local specialists (local usability company).
  • You need to assure that planned session time is acceptable for locals and does not overlap with local holidays
  • You need to take into consideration demographic and other peculiarities of local audience. For example, the level of tech knowledge may differ for seniors in different countries.
  • The recruitment process for UX sessions has it's own peculiarities in every single country. All the recruitment for researches and testing should be done beforehand with the help of local specialists. Besides you need to consider logistics and transportation features in every city as well as the distance between settlements in case the research takes place in different cities.
  • UX session moderator should be chosen from local consultants. For him/her knowledge of life peculiarities in the country is the skill as necessary as usablity knowledge and moderating experience.
  • Norms and rules in different countries may differ significantly. Things that are OK in one country may be perceived as outrageous discourtesy in another one.
  • In some countries it is extremely hard to force testing participants to share their points of view due to national mentality. At the same time in other countries may appear a problem of filtering of information generated by participant.
  • Assure that video recording during session is OK for all the participants. In some countries people's attitude to privacy issues may cause problems with research recording.
  • Pay attention on simultaneous translation quality because it may affect overall project success. In some countries simultaneous translation is necessary even if research participants or participants of usability testing speak the same language with researchers but use specific local dialect.

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