Go Global: Psychological Aspects of International Web Design  

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The golden rule of marketing is to know your audience and create messages about your product or service that will be appealing to that audience. Every type of an audience requires a marketer to use a specific way of presenting the information to get his message across. It is not an easy task to do but things get even more complicated when we talk about international businesses and startups. The web design can be the key to communication between you and your customers.

Analyzing the cultural differences and psychological aspects of the market you want to conquer is a crucial part of starting a business outside your homeland. This is a new unexplored territory and you need to gather some helpful facts. Luckily for you, a great scientist, Geert Hofstede, has done a tremendous work to make the research easier. Here are the most detailed guide to creating a successful web design for different countries of the world using psychological tools.

1. Hierarchies and inequality.

The extent to which people with less power accept the phenomenon of that power being distributed unequally is called power distance. There are countries that try to erase barriers between social hierarchies and big gaps between the rich and the poor. They have low power distance index. There are also those that do not take any serious steps towards establishing equality of social statuses and salaries. They have high power distance index.

When you develop websites for these two groups of countries, there should be some crucial differences in their design. Why? Because you need two approaches to presenting information and making it appealing.

Tips on web design:

Low Power Distance Index:

  • Be honest and transparent giving a detailed information about what your company does and what you want to achieve.
  • Include testimonials (real ones!). Users will believe you if they see what other people think of your company;
  • Explain why you can consider yourself to be an expert in this business (professional achievements, awards, etc.).
  • Make a detailed navigation bar for your users to decide on the best way to explore the site.
    Give the equal access to all users.

High Power Distance Index:

  • Strive for an extremely organized website with every section being in order.
  • Make it clear which parts of the content are more and less important (popular). There should be a content hierarchy.
  •  Consider including some cultural and national elements in the design.
  • Choose authoritative images.
  • Include certificates and official documents to give the impression of a high-status company.

 

2. Collectivist and individualist cultures.

One more way to analyze your target audience is to find out what type of culture it belongs to – collectivist or individualist. Using this approach, we can indicate the countries where people prefer forming big social groups. For instance, those who do not value their autonomy much and those where personal time and freedom play a profound role.

Tips on web design:

Collectivist:

  • Choose images featuring several people and not just one person.
  • Show that you understand national traditions and moral principles.
  • Convince the audience that you have strict privacy policy assuring the security of their personal information.

Individualist:

  • Motivate your users showing their achievements.
  • Include competitions to your digital marketing plan.
  • Include images of something that your audience associates with success (physical objects, not ephemeral).

 

3. Masculinity/femininity traits.

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It will not be a great insight for you if we say that men and women are very different. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, etc. But did you know that there are feminine and masculine cultures? This fact has a huge influence on the marketing communication approach. Depending on which one from these two types of cultures your target market belongs to, you can adapt the website accordingly. The main difference is that masculine cultures tend to be more focused on wealth, material values, and individual success. The feminine ones care more about cooperation, relationships and quality of life.

Tips on web design:

Masculine:

  • Elements of gamification should be its essential part.
  • Let the users compete by focusing on limited offers and exclusiveness of your products/services.
  • Video content is a must-have.

Feminine:

  • The main advantage of your product/service should be the improvement of life quality.
  • Show how the majority of users can benefit from your offers.
  • Focus on the protection of environment if relevant to your product/service.

 

4. Fun or no fun?

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How does not like to party, right? Having fun and enjoying oneself are the two things we can not imagine our life without. There are cultures that have nothing against people having fun, and yet there are those that do. These are indulgent (extrovert, value leisure time) and restraint (repress feelings, focus on moral principles) cultures.

Tips on web design:

Indulgent:

  • Online and offline contests with entertaining prizes.
  • Allow customers to contribute (user-generated content).
  • Write exciting and entertaining content.

Restraint:

  • Avoid unexpected elements on the website and use a rigid structure.
  • Focus on the formal communication and do not try to talk to the users as if you’ve known them for ages.
  • Make an emphasis on special offers that help users save money.

 

5. Living in the moment.

 /></p> <p>Learn if your target audience belongs to short- or long-term oriented cultures. This dimension shows what people value most - getting quick results or preparing a solid basis for the future success.</p> <h2>Tips on web design:</h2> <p><strong>Short-Term Oriented:</strong><br /> - Incorporate the popular trends when they are relevant.<br /> - Don't let customers wait too long; focus on instant rewards.<br /> - The faster the customer service and support team will work the better.</p> <p><strong>Long-Term Oriented:</strong><br /> - Think about something with practical value that you can give your clients for free (guide, sample, etc.)<br /> - It is not necessary to pay close attention to the navigation of the site.<br /> - If your product or service is associated with a family tradition or has a legendary story behind it, make it the center point.</p> <h2>6. Are You Certain?</h2> <p><img class=

The feeling of uncertainty can drive some people crazy. Others enjoy not knowing what the destiny has prepared for them. The cultures that are not afraid of changes and can quickly adapt to a new environment are uncertainty accepting. And those that do not prefer to risk and dive in something new are uncertainty avoidant.

Tips on web design:

Uncertainty Accepting:

  • Your audience likes risking; use that to your advantage.
  • Use a complex structure of the website and let multiple options rely on your users’ choice.
  • Include the option of online conversation if possible.

Uncertainty Avoidant:

  • Be specific with terminology to avoid confusion and misinterpretation.
  • Structured website and clear navigation with no pop-up windows are your only options.

Bonus Tip!

Congrats! You’ve managed to get to the end of the article. Here’s a quick tip on setting a price for your product/service. Your goal is to find out what currency denominations your target audience uses every day. If it is 10 dollars, rubles, pesos, etc., make your prices should be multiples of 10. It will be easier for people to understand the amount of money they need to spend.

P.S. Where do I find the information on each country?

Here (you will find a convenient tool for finding out everything you need about the market you are planning to conquer with your business. Just pick a country and you will see the graph showing its specific scores on every dimension we’ve discussed in this article.

You may also consult with our translation experts as they know some of the peculiarities of different local markets. If you are looking for some tips on the appealing usage of the Spanish language, they will help you out.

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