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A comparison of what is part of usability testing in three countries

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The cultural diversity of users of technology challenges our methodsfor usability evaluation. In this paper we report and compare three ethnographicinterview studies of what is a part of a standard (typical) usability test in acompany in Mumbai, Beijing and Copenhagen. At each of these three locations,we use structural and contrast questions do a taxonomic and paradigm analysisof a how a company performs a usability test. We find similar parts across thethree locations. We also find different results for each location. In Mumbai,most parts of the usability test are not related to the interactive application thatis tested, but to differences in user characteristics, test preparation, method, andlocation. In Copenhagen, considerations about the client´s needs are part of ausability test. In Beijing, the only varying factor is the communication patternand relation to the user. These results are then contrasted in a cross culturalmatrix to identify cultural themes that can help interpret results from existinglaboratory research in usability test methods.

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Torkil Clemmensen

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