Cultural Cognitive Style and Web Design: Beyond a Behavioral Inquiry into Computer-Mediated Communication

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Abstract

Numerous studies have identified links among culture, user preferences, and Web site usability. Most of these studies were reports of findings from a behavioral perspective in explaining how cultural factors affect processes of Web-related content design and use. Based on the research of Vygotsky and Nisbett, the authors propose a broader model, referred to as “cultural cognition theory,” by which Web design, like other types of information production, is seen as being shaped by cultural cognitive processes that impact the designers’ cognitive style. This study explores issues related to Web designers’ cultural cognitive styles and their impact on user responses. The results of an online experiment that exposed American1 and Chinese users to sites created by both Chinese and American designers indicate that users perform information-seeking tasks faster when using Web content created by designers from their own cultures.

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