Your Target Market is Made up of Real People

One of the most important things to remember is that your target market is made of real people. People who ate breakfast this morning. People who are, right now, laughing at a joke. Your target market is not an abstraction.




Keep in mind...

This is not a magic formula. Design is an intricate and complex adventure, and not something we can complete with the push of a button. Think of this as a place to start--a place to start thinking of how to design for your target audience.

Please don't read too much into these suggestions (or too little).


Cultural Values Scale

How might specific cultural values be reflected in your target market?
Individual
Conservative
Conservative
Progressive
Thrift
Extravagance
Femininity
Masculinity
Indulgence
Restraint
High Power
Low Power
Long-term
Short-term
Ambiguity Tolerance
Uncertainty Avoidance

START HERE! What do these mean?

Individual vs. Collective

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Individual
Collective

In individualistic cultures, people are expected to look after themselves or immediate family, but have little responsibilities beyond these relationships. These cultures tend to value freedom and personal time.

Keywords:
I, me, freedom, rights

Collective cultures have a preference for a tightly-knit society where people are integrated from birth into strong, cohesive groups. These groups protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. They tend to value training and skills.

Keywords:
We, our, belonging, saving face

Conservative vs. Progressive

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Conservative
Progressive

In conservative cultures, traditional values are considered important. There is a general resistance and reluctance to change.

Keywords:
Values, Tradition, Stability

Cultures that tend toward progressivism display a desire to change or improvement. Traditional ideas do not play as important a role in decision making.

Keywords:
Change, Progress, Innovation

Thrift vs. Extravagance

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Thrift
Extravagance

Cultures that are oriented to thrift place an emphasis on the need for wise and modest living.

Keywords:
Wisdom, Saving

Extravangant cultures place an emphasis on prestige and honor.

Keywords:
Presigious, Rights

Indulgence vs. Restraint

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Indulgence
Restraint

Indulgence describes a cultural group that allows relatively free gratification of basic and natural human drives related to enjoying life and having fun.

Keywords:
Pleasure, Freedom, Expression

Cultures oriented to restraint tend to suppress gratification of needs and desires and regulates them by means of strict social norms.

Keywords:
Order, Control, Structure

Masculine vs. Feminine

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Femininity
Masculinity

Masculinity and femininity refer to gender roles, not physical characteristics.

Feminine cultures emphasize cooperation, caring for others and quality of life. They tend to be more consensus-oriented. There is typically less distinctions regarding gender roles. Men are more free to exhibit qualities like tenderness, and a concern for others.

Keywords:
Strength, Assertiveness, Boldness

Masculinity reflects a preference in a cultural group for heroism, assertiveness and material success. The tend to be more competitive and traditional gender distinctions are strongly maintained.

Keywords:
Beauty, Kindness, Concern

Power Distance

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High Power Distance
Low Power Distance

Power distance refers to the extent to which less powerful members expect and those in authority accept unequal power distribution within a culture.

High power distance cultures have more centralized, defined hierarchies of power. They see a large distance between supervisors and subordinates, parents and children, and sometimes even older siblings and younger siblings. There is an emphasis on obedience and respect. Inequality is expected.

Keywords:
Expertise, Authority, Respect, Heirarchy

Low power distance countries view those in authority as closer together with those they have authority over. Parents and children, teachers and students, supervisors and subordinates may view themselves more as equals (but not necessarily as identical). Equality is values and generally desired.

Keywords:
Egalitarian, Approachablility, Down-to-Earth

Time Orientation

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Short-term Orientation
Long-term Orientation

Cultural groups with a short-term orientation generally have a relatively small propensity to save for the future and a focus on achieving quick results. They are typical normative in their thinking and are concerned with absolute truth.

Keywords:
Immediate, the Present, Law, Rules

Culture groups that are long-term orientated demonstrate a strong propensity to save and invest, and perseverance in achieving results. These cultures general focus on a search for virtue and believe that truth depends on the situation, context and time.

Keywords:
Virtue, Perseverence, Investment, Future

Response to Ambiguity

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Ambiguity Tolerance
Uncertainty Avoidance

Uncertainty avoidance / Ambiguity tolerance expresses the degree to which the members of a cultural group accept uncertainty and ambiguity.

Cultural groups that tend to avoid uncertainty are typically less tolerant of unorthodox behaviour and ideas. They also tend to be more communicative and shun ambiguous situations.

Keywords:
Organized, Methodical, Clarity

Other cultural groups are more tolerant of uncertainty. They tend to be less expressive and openly anxious. They are often more concerned with a relaxed attitude over principles.

Keywords:
Easy-going, Laid back, Carefree


How do these impact design?

We are convinced that culture impacts every aspect of design, including:


Color

Typography

Layout

Written Content

Images

Web Standards

Below are some of our suggestions that might help you build a more suitable site for your target audience.

Words are Important!

Here are some descriptive words that might help describe the most effective design for your target market.


Suggested Color Schemes

Typically colors are chosen to correspond with the logo of company or organziation that the site represents. Hopefully, these company colors reflect the sentiment of the target market.

The colors below might give you some ideas based the target market cultural value scores. These are chosen based on the combination of multiple cultural values of your target market.


Suggested Fonts Combinations

One of the critical choices in web design is the comination of fonts used. One general rule is to limit the number of fonts on a site. We've found that two fonts is almost always enough, especially if we use varying weights.


Image Considerations

One of the most challenging aspects of design is choosing images that work well within the overall design of the site. While it would obviously be difficult to suggest specific images, here are some guidelines you might want to keep in mind:


Layout Considerations

The most effective layout of a website will be influenced by your target market. It is important to also remember that the type of your site will determine the layout. An ecommerce site will naturally look different from a company site. However, these principles should apply regardless of the type of site.

Here are some basic layout concepts. Notice the differences in complexity. Be careful with image sliders. Research has shown that slide content is often overlooked. Don't forget that the website needs to be responsive. Web access on mobile is growing exponentially, especially in the non-western world.


Content Considerations

Content is king. One of the most important, yet overlooked aspect of design is the actual content and how it is displayed. Here are a few things to keep in mind regarding content and your target market.


Conformity to Web Standards

There are certain web standards and conventions that are important to keep in mind. The cultural perspective of your target market will help define how closely you should follow these conventions. Remember the simple truth that visitors to your site spend most of their time on other websites.

These standards and conventions include aspects of design such as: having a logo in the upper left on each and linking to the home page, having copyright and general information in the footer, including contact us link or links to login in the upper right, having links to social media in the footer.


Summary

Hopefully, you have learned something about how to design for your target market and about the ways culture will certainly influence the effectiveness of your design. Here's a review of your target market and important cultural values that influence design. Enjoy the adventure!

Key Factors

Culture Values Scores

Individual
Conservative
Conservative
Progressive
Thrift
Extravagance
Femininity
Masculinity
Indulgence
Restraint
High Power Distance
Low Power Distance
Long-term Orientation
Short-term Orientation
Ambiguity Tolerance
Uncertainty Avoidance

Notes and Resources

Academic Resources

There are too many resources to list that have contributed to the design and functionality of this Target Market Design Analysis. Below are a few key resources that have been instrumental and that will give those interested a good foundation in intercultural research. We will be adding to this list as time goes on.

Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions: http://geert-hofstede.com/

Geert Hofstede's cultural dimensions provide a popular framework for intercultural analysis. With popularity there is also critcism. One of the most significant criticisms is his equating national borders and cultural dimensions. We recognize this and define culture as something much more specific than "national culture."

Aaron Marcus: AMA_CulturalDimensionsGlobalWebDesign.pdf

Aaron Marcus is one of the few outside of academia that have looked at the interaction between design and culture. This pdf gives a good perspective on ux design and Hofstede's cultural dimensions.

Keppel, David Paschke. 2015. Intercultural Implications in Website Design: An Examination of Cross-Cultural Aesthetics and Organization Online.

Gevorgyan. Gennadi and Lance V. Porter. 2008. One Size Does Not Fit All: Culture and Perceived Importance of Web Design Features

Callahan, Ewa. 2007. Cultural Differences in the Design of Human-Computer Interfaces: A Multinational Study of University Websites.

Other Resources used for this Target Market Report

There are a number of great resources that were used to generate this report.


How'd We Do?

Thanks for being a part of this experiment in intercultural design. We appreciate any feedback. Were we right on? way off? Were you able to use any of the suggestions in designing for your target market. Let us know.

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