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An international peer-reviewed journal

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


This study provides strong evidence that culture affects usability as a whole. In so doing, it is hoped this study provides a methodology to be used in further research into the effect of culture on usability. It is recommended that future studies along similar lines consider the following:

This study also raises the possibility of further research in the following areas:


This study shows good evidence of a link between culture and usability. To understand usability as a whole, both subjective and performance-based measures of usability were considered. To gather data, commonly accepted usability measurement tools, such as the USE survey, and standard measures of performance, such as tasks complete, time taken, and errors made, were used. By doing so, it is hoped similar studies can be made in the future to further develop understanding of the influence of culture on usability.

So, the overall message for business is clear (and has already been noted by such corporations as Nokia), product design in the consumer electronics industry or any industry with a multicultural market must acknowledge the need for usability across cultures.

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