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 UPA Conference 2005

Closing Plenary Speaker: Aaron Marcus

Cross-Cultural User-Experience Design

Analysts of culture and ethnographers have focused our professional attention on group differences that affect user experience, particularly for international, computer-based, communication-oriented products and services. We don't all speak the same language, eat the same foods, enjoy the same music, work in the same kinds of organizations, educate our children in the same ways, engage in  the same kinds of conversations, or play  the same games, to say nothing of playing by the same rules. The world situation shows us as never before that we cannot afford not to learn about these differences, as well as similarities, and consider how we might use this knowledge to design better products and services.

This talk will introduce culture dimensions that are evidenced at work, at home, in schools, and in families through symbols, heroes/heroines, rituals, and values. I'll define and explain some of these dimensions, discuss their impact on the design of user interfaces and user experiences, show  examples of culture influencing corporate global Web design, and conclude with other dimensions, like persuasion, trust, intelligence, and cognition,  which should be considered with culture in designing usable, useful, and appealing user experiences.

Aaron Marcus

Mr. Aaron Marcus is the founder and President of Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc. (AM+A), Berkeley, California, USA. A graduate in physics from Princeton University and in graphic design from Yale University, in 1967 he became the world's first graphic designer to be involved fulltime in computer graphics. In the 1970s he programmed a prototype desktop publishing page layout application for the Picturephone (tm) at AT&T Bell Labs, programmed virtual reality spaces while a faculty member at Princeton University, and directed an international team of visual communicatiors as a Research Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu. In the early 1980s he was a Staff Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in Berkeley, founded AM+A, and began research as a Co-Principal Investigator of a project funded by the US Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In 1992, he received the National Computer Graphics Association's annual award for contributions to industry. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of UPA's User Experience and a regular column writer for ACM SIGCHI's Interactions.

Mr. Marcus has written over 150 articles; written/co-written five books, including (with Ron Baecker) Human Factors and Typography for More Readable Programs (1990), Graphic Design for Electronic Documents and User Interfaces (1992), and The Cross-GUI Handbook for Multiplatform User Interface Design (1994) all published by Addison-Wesley; and contributed chapters/case studies to five handbooks of user-interface design, information appliances, and culture. Over the last dec ade, Mr. Marcus has focused his attention on user-interface/user-experiences design issues that relate to culture differences, mobile devices, and information visualization.

Mr. Marcus has published, lectured, tutored, and consulted internationally for more than 35 years and has been an invited keynote/plenary speaker since 1980 at international conferences of ACM/SIGCHI, ACMSIGGRAPH, STC, and the Human Factors and Ergonomic Society. He is a visionary thinker, designer, and writer, well-respected in international professional communities of usability, user Web, user interface, human factors, graphic design, and publishing industries.


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