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The Influence of Designers’ Cultural Differences on the Empathic Accuracy of User Understanding

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Understanding user experience has become an important part of product design, but doing it well remains challenging. Given the global market and the resulting ubiquity of cross-cultural design, to improve user experience, designers should accurately understand users from different cultures. The extent to which designers can empathize and understand users from different cultures is an under researched topic. This paper combines Empathic Accuracy Rating with a user experience survey to measure the empathic accuracy of 12 designers trying to understand the experience of users from different cultural backgrounds. The results show that cultural differences reduce the accuracy of their user understanding. This effect can be mitigated by providing designers with more details of users’ living context.
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Keywords: cultural difference; empathic accuracy; product design; user experience

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Aalto University, Espoo, Finland

Publication date: September 2, 2020

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