The Handbook of Global User Research


  • Robert Schumacher, User Centric, Inc. Managing Director

User research is global – yet despite its pervasiveness, practitioners are not all well equipped to work globally. What may have worked in Nigeria may not be accepted in Russia, may be done differently in Brazil, may partly work in China, and may completely fail in Kuwait. And what often goes less noticed, but can be equally vexing are technical, logistical and planning issues such as hiring qualified translators, payment procedures, travel issues, setting up facilities and finding test participants.

The Handbook of Global User Research is the first book to focus on global user research. The book collects insight from UX professionals from nine countries and, following a typical project timeline, presents practical insights into the preparation, fieldwork, analysis and reporting, and overall project management for global user research projects. Any user experience professional that works on global projects -- including those new to the field, UX veterans who need information on this expanding aspect of user research, and students -- will need this book to do their job effectively.


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User experience professionals and researchers worldwide, customer experience manager, usability analyst, human factors engineer (analyst, specialist, manager), software/web developers, market researchers, quality personnel, information architects, business analysts, students interested in field work, managers, and product designers who conduct user research globally.


Book information

  • Published: October 2009
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-374852-2


"Our products increasingly are finding their way around the world.  Usable designs need to reflect the diversity of those global users if they are going to be successful, and not just the perspective coming from one lab in a corporate headquarters.  Robert Schumacher’s Handbook of Global User Research is like a GPS system for navigating the complexities of that diversity.  It is packed with an incredible amount of practical advice, useful tips, and warnings about potential disasters." – Arnie Lund, PhD, CUXP, Director, User Experience, Microsoft

"Collectively, the authors bring decades and decades of hands-on experience to this book---and it shows. The Handbook of Global User Research offers a wealth of practical tips and advice you can readily rely on in your daily work. But it’s not just a list of do’s and don’ts: this book provides in-depth discussions and history of each topic covered. Anyone doing user research across borders should have a copy of HGUR on their shelf." – James Kalbach, User Experience Consultant, LexisNexis, author of Designing Web Navigation.

Table of Contents

1. Foundations and definition of user research
1.1 Globalization, localization, and user research
1.2 Origins of user research
1.3 What is user research
1.4 Getting the terms right
1.5 Dynamic nature of user research
1.6 User researc and other disciplines
1.7 Models of global user research
1.8 What is this book about 
2. Project management for global research
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Engaging stakeholders in research activities
2.3 Planning international studies
2.4 Finding quality in-country resources
2.5 Managing an international project team
2.6 Key takeaways
3. Preparation
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Understanding research objectives and target user groups
3.3 Reviewing the stimuli
3.4 Creating the test plan
3.5 Recruiting
3.6 Developing the moderator's guide
3.7 Localizing the moderator's guide
3.8 Sharing materials with local teams
3.9 Briefing with local teams
3.10 Local pilot testing
3.11 Key takeaways 
4. Fieldwork For Global User Research Projects
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Planning logistics for a global study
4.3 Preparing test materials for a global study
4.4 Assembling and training the team
4.5 Conducting the fieldworl
4.6 Analyzing data and reporting results
4.7 Key takeaways 
5. Analysis and Reporting
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Planning analyses for global projects
5.3 Collaborating and sharing analyses from each locale
5.4 Reporting and presenting results
5.5 Key takeaways 
6. Global user research methods
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Ethnographic studies
6.3 Focus groups
6.4 Eye tracking
6.5 Unmoderated remote usability testing
6.6 Web analytics
6.7 Online surveys
6.8 Personas
7. User research throughout the world
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Australia
7.3 Brazil
7.4 China
7.5 Denmark
7.6 Finland
7.7 France
7.8 Germany
7.9 India
7.10 Italy
7.11 Japan
7.12 Korea
7.13 Malaysia
7.14 The Netherlands
7.15 New Zealand
7.16 Russia
7.17 Spain
7.18 Switzerland
7.19 Turkey
7.20 United Arab Emirates
7.21 United Kingdom
7.22 United States
8. The role of professional organizations in user research
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Making the most out of a professional network
8.3 The local chapters of professional organizations
8.4 Professional organizations in a global market
8.5 Organizations and research
8.6 World Usability Day as an example
8.7 Directory of organizations
8.8 Key takeaways
9. The impact of culture on user research
9.1 Introduction: How culture impacts user research
9.2 The implications of context to user research
9.3 The impact of the development process on cross-cultural user research
9.4 A model for understanding the impact of culture on user research
9.5 The impact on user research of the cultural differences between moderators
9.6 The culture of nations and organizations and its implications on user research
9.7 Cognitive differences between East and West and their relationship to user research
9.8 Key takeaways 
10. Closing Thoughts