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Information Architecture: Intercultural Human Factors

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Although information architecture has included a wide range of cultural adaptations for internationalizing and localizing online information, rarely have these efforts involved going beyond superficial cultural considerations. Initially, internationalization concentrated on the outer layers of culture, such as avoiding specific colors and inappropriate icons, as well as incorporating local currency and time standards. While internationalizing these features contributes to an effective online environment across culture, they represent the initial stages of internationalization and localization requirements.

Fortunately, current international information architecture research provides useful guidelines and heuristics for localizing online information. This article explores the claim that current internationalization and localization efforts presume particular cultural values and that an effective online environment for international audiences requires structural or architectural reconsideration. Using a Japanese deliverable as a model, this examination maps cultural dimensions to different elements of information architecture. The result of this examination provides suggestions for future internationalization and localization projects.

Document Type: Journal Article

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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