Extent of Influence of Regional Preferences on the Design of GUI Elements in News Papers Websites
In multicultural societies such as India, users can be classified into more than one type of category simultaneously such as English news paper readers, regional language news readers, national language speakers, fourth language knower’s’ etc. The users seem to move from one category to another effortlessly.Along with the content the users are also subjected to differences in visual objects, their grid layouts, colors etc. Designers on the other hand, tend to use—for laying out the content —the rigid grid style characteristic of designs originating in the west.However, if local and regional print media in India is analyzed one does find grids and graphic elements used by them embedded that do not conform fully to the rigid western grids.In order to find out the extent of such regional variations and their influence on the preferences of users a study involving more than 40 users has been conducted and its results reported in this paper. The subjects wereasked to select an object from among a group of visual elements placed on the webpage that exhibited the regional look and feel. Their preferences were recorded. In the next part of the experiment the same subjects were asked to choose from a layout that was a strictly western based grid. The results indicate that amongst the subjects who had some connection and exposure to design preferred western type of rigid grids where as those without any connection to design had no strong preferences and also exhibited higher acceptance of
regional elements.The results of the present research indicate that the perceived usability in terms of preferences increases when the website/print media visually exhibits the native/regional language nuances of the user. In the case of users that have more exposure to western based content layouts it possibly creates a cultural distance. The reported results can be useful to Usability designers to become aware of the need more sensitivity to regional influences amongst their users.