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The Effect of Culture on Usability: Comparing the Perceptions and Performance of Taiwanese and North American MP3 Player Users

Steve Wallace and Hsiao-Cheng Yu

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 4, Issue 3, May 2009, pp. 136-146

Article Contents


The following results from the analyses conducted support the first two of the hypotheses made but found no statistically reliable evidence to support the third:

Comparing Averages for the Two Groups

Results from the t-test show that the average perceptions of usefulness, ease of use, and user satisfaction differ significantly between Taiwanese and North American users. Culture clearly is associated with perceptions of usability. However, the average levels of performance do not differ so clearly between Taiwanese and North American users. There is no clear difference in the average number of tasks completed between groups, indicating that the culture of the user may not have an impact on the actual effectiveness of a product. The link between culture and product efficiency is also not clear. The average number of errors made differed significantly according to culture. While the other measure of product efficiency, the time required to complete a task, showed no clear difference in averages.

The following table summarizes the difference in distributions between the samples.

Table 3. Comparison of Mean Measures of Usability Between Cultures
  Taiwan North America P-value (t-test) Significance
User Perceptions
(mean score as a rounded percentage of total possible)
Effectiveness 70% 41% < 0.001 Highly significant
Efficiency 64% 45% < 0.01 Very significant
User satisfaction 63% 42% < 0.01 Very significant
Total perceived usability 62% 44% < 0.05 Significant
User Performance
(mean score)
Tasks completed (max 16) 13.46 13.60 > 0.05 Not significant
Time required (seconds) 667.08 788.80 > 0.05 Not significant
Errors made 93.92 155.70 < 0.01 Very significant

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