Global UX book cover

Global UX

Design and Research in a Connected World

Protocols exist in the field of user experience, but in light of the challenges faced by globalization, you must now incorporate new methodologies and best practices to analyze, test, design, and evaluate products that take into account a multinational user base. Current UX books and resources don't focus on the unique challenges of creating usable, well-designed products and services in light of varying cultures, technology, and breadth of audience. Challenges you may face on a daily level include: Policies, practices and behavior in multinational organizations; Cross-cultural distributed team issues; Multi-national corporations working across national boundaries and across cultures (both national and corporate); Global standards and national regulations; Accessibility for a global audience, including disabilities; and much more.

With Global UX, industry leaders Whitney Quesenbery and Daniel Szuc resolve this issue by offering real world examples of successful UX practice, organized by the authors around specific project objectives, as examples of different ways of working globally. Throughout the book, they provide best practices and lessons learned to help answer common questions and avoid common problems in a multitude of situations. The chapters introduce themes and frameworks of challenges, and then provide related case studies that present how experts solved that problem.  This book provides a valuable resource for anyone looking to incorporate new globalized methodologies.


User experience designers, usability engineers, information architects, other human-computer interaction professionals, and students of human-computer interaction, software engineering managers, project and program managers, product and market managers, technical support and IT managers

Paperback, 264 Pages

Published: November 2011

Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann

ISBN: 978-0-12-378591-6


  • "If you work in a global team (or wish you did) -- or if your product or service goes outside your country (or you wish it did) -- you need this book. Hear the voices of 65 user experience practitioners who live and work globally. Whitney Quesenbery and Dan Szuc have taken these stories and wrapped them into fascinating and compelling insights about global work today." --  Janice (Ginny) Redish, author of Letting Go of the Words -- Writing Web Content that Works

    "Your guidebook to becoming a design hero by applying the distilled wisdom from successful global UX teams: Gain strength from diversity, collaborate at a global scale, learn the local culture and then create value." -- Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland

    "In these pages the reader quickly gains an understanding of the intricacies, importance and excitement in global UX.  Whitney Quesenbery and Daniel Szuc have delivered a fabulous mix of experienced global voices that we all can take on the challenging and rewarding journey of (literally) making the world a little easier, a little safer, and little more fun." -- Robert M. Schumacher, Ph.D., Managing Director, User Centric, Inc.

    "For designers and software architects, this volume on user interface design provides a discussion of practical and theoretical concerns surrounding the development of user experiences in computer software. Not designed to provide coding specifics, and language and platform agnostic, the work looks at key features of interface design from the generalized perspective of software design, development, and production. Topics discussed include culture and user interface design, strategies for global companies and products, field research, and planning for globalization."--Reference and Research Book News, Inc.


  • Chapter 1: The Start of the Journey

    This book is about people

    Charting the territory

    UX people are passionate about building bridges

    The UX toolkit is global

    Global UX needs many perspectives

    Innovation comes from everywhere

    The future is unevenly applied

    A map of the journey

    Chapter 2: It’s a New World

    The world is smaller... and larger

    Population matters

    The Internet is flat, too

    Companies are changing

    Being global doesn’t happen by accident

    Relationships between headquarters and teams are changing

    Companies are developing local talent

    Influences are becoming multi-directional

    But not every company appreciates its local talent

    There are new relationships between countries in Asia

    We are more connected

    The network helped UX grow

    Global connections may replace local ones

    We are more mobile

    Travel builds connections

    You can think of yourself as a global person, even if you haven’t traveled a lot

    Innovation happens everywhere

    National projects support innovation

    The UX profession grows along with innovation

    New markets bring new ways of innovating

    New models for open innovation use the network

    Thinking globally is also thinking locally

    To think globally is to reach across cultures

    Thinking locally is to dig deeply into a specific culture

    Chapter 3: Culture and UX

    Delving into culture

    Culture is defined by what we share

    Culture is a deep layer

    Culture is more than nationality

    Use of technology can create cultural differences

    Companies and professions also have cultures

    Many layers of culture affect UX

    Finding difference and sameness

    It’s about relevant differences

    The question of Hofstede

    Language and culture

    Communication style depends on context

    Cultures have their own communication styles

    Nuances of meaning can be difficult to uncover


    Chapter 4: Building Cultural Awareness

    Thinking globally is a state of mind

    Being open to others is part of UX

    Cross cultural experiences can be right around the corner

    Get out of the lab, office, and tourist spots

    Get immersed in a culture

    Getting to know a place takes time

    Follow local customs

    Learn the language (at least a little)

    Find cultural proxies

    Be genuine...and adapt

    Dig into layers of understanding

    If you are not sure, be human

    Adapt your own behavior

    See yourself differently


    Chapter 5: Global Companies and Global Strategies

    Organizations have cultures, too

    Organizational cultures are all different

    Four global product strategies

    HQ and the regions

    People outside of headquarters want a say

    Maintaining a global brand from a central group requires control

    Global partnerships

    Outsourcing has two sides

    UX practices are adapted for off-shore work

    Attitudes are changing

    UX in the organization

    Managing global UX means managing teams

    UX can be a change agent

    To lead, you must manage corporate politics

    UX can make a difference

    A company can choose to be local

    Chapter 6: Effective Global Teams

    Organizing a global UX team

    UX is often a centralized group

    Global offices may serve markets or co-locate a business unit

    Even virtual teams need face-time

    Fully global teams work on an equal basis

    Dealing with distance

    Collaboration is a challenge across distance

    Collaborating around the world means sharing the time-zone pain

    There’s nothing like being in the same place…for key moments

    Distance collaboration takes effort (and good technology)

    Supporting collaboration and innovation

    The value of global teams is in their diversity

    Cross-cultural communication takes awareness

    Make everyone part of the conversation

    Workspaces can also support collaboration

    People act as cultural bridges

    Building UX and cross-cultural knowledge

    We all need to keep our UX knowledge fresh

    The local community can provide opportunities and support

    Find ways to be part of the global community

    Build global, cultural knowledge

    Chapter 7 - Research in the Field

    Setting research goals

    Start with clear goals

    Articulate what is global about the project

    Decide how you will meet goals for global insights

    Planning a global research project

    Decide when - and why - to travel

    Decide on a schedule and number of participants

    Include time to deal with local logistics

    Include time for analysis

    Include time for discovery

    Choosing UX techniques for global research

    Multiple questions means multiple methods

    Get out and see users in their own environment

    Use other research sources if you have access to them

    Focus groups are not the answer

    Remote methods can work, too

    Choosing the team

    Global research teams include people outside of UX

    Local partners bring additional perspectives

    Preparing for the field

    Use local resources to prepare

    Make sure the team is ready

    Being in the field

    Pace yourself

    Do other things. Go to a ball game

    Working effectively with participants

    Give it time

    Recruiting is part of the research

    Language matters

    Interpreters can make or break a session


    Chapter 8 - Bringing it Home

    Coming to conclusions

    Everyone is part of the analysis

    Debriefing as you go keeps the information fresh

    Distance can make analysis more difficult

    Creating a richer picture

    Reporting can be an immersive experience.

    The goal is to help people connect to what you’ve learned

    Telling the story

    Tell the story with photographs

    Tell the story with video

    Tell the story with sketches

    Act out the story

    Let personas tell the story

    Carrying the conversation forward

    Move the conversation into the broader company


    Chapter 9 - Design for a Global Audience

    Get the basics right

    Do your research homework

    Plan for globalization

    Do a cultural audit

    Go beyond "just translating the words"

    Decide on your strategy

    Three approaches to managing a global brand

    One product, with minor localization

    A global templates with local variations

    Locally controlled products, marketing, or websites

    Create a good local experience

    Global products adapt to local needs

    Decide how to fit into the local environment

    Design from your roots


    Chapter 10 - Delivering Value

    Build bridges

    Lead by example

    Create value


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