SXSW: Designing for Global Audiences

I attended Perspectives on Designing for Global Audiences because the topic is important for Creative Commons — parts of the CC site are translated into many languages, there are many jurisdicton affiliates, some of which run their own sites. I want to do much more and better.

The panel’s focus seemed to be on big budget projects — their advice could be summed up as “hire locally and do lots of research.” This mindset caused them to take an audience question about asking users to help with localization as merely being about how to conduct user research.

One panelist claimed that communication is the first use of the net, then ecommerce, and finally entertainment, where the net is well developed. This sounds to me like a simple extrapolation from development in wealthy regions — I wouldn’t be suprised if entertainment arrives before ecommerce in some places.

Practical tips were interspersed. I’ll assume there’s some truth to these, which included:

  • Chinese don’t like whitespace, pack a page with information.
  • In Latin America “rich media” is hated more than spam. Yay, another argument against Flash.
  • Many audiences don’t like scrolling. Too bad, I don’t like clicking and prefer long pages.

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