Article by Olivia Gerber Moron.
Imagine this: you decide to expand your very successful and popular mobile cooking app to other markets across the globe. You want to reach a wider audience and maximize your return on investment. You start by contacting translators and localization experts to ensure your app’s content is accessible to audiences from different countries. But is that enough? Are customers from different cultural backgrounds going to interact with your product in the same ways as your local audience does? Will Chinese users navigate the app in the same way as Mexican users? Is it even worth investing internationally at all?
You’re right to ask yourself such questions: simply localizing your app into multiple languages will not guarantee the same success across all the international markets you plan to expand into. Sometimes such a localization strategy will work just fine, but in other cases it will fail to create the same user engagement or to ensure your product or service is usable by the target audience. In our cooking app example, Spaniards don’t have the same culinary habits as residents in the Netherlands. They use different ingredients, have different recipes and mealtimes, and eat varying amounts of food at different meals. In fact, Spaniards have a late copious lunch, whereas Dutch people have an early light lunch and eat more at dinner. If these users fail to find what they need in the app, they’ll stop using it and will find a more appropriate option. Yet, there is something you can do to meet the users' needs and expectations of your target market and that is to resort to user experience (UX) research. UX research helps you understand your audience's behaviors, needs, motivations, pain points and opinions about the app through observation techniques and other feedback methodologies.
This article will cover everything you need to know to make sure your product, service, or experience addresses the needs of users in each of the specific target markets you want to expand into. We will provide an overview of the key steps and stages of UX research before moving on to explain how to conduct UX research on an international scale. We’ll also discuss who needs to be involved in international UX research, how translators and localization experts can make for good UX researchers, if trained properly in research methodologies.
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