International usability and website design

Usability guru Jakob Nielsen shares the findings of usability studies conducted in Australia, China and the UAE.  The tests covered websites, intranets and mobile apps/sites.  His key findings and recommendations include:

  • Headlines and links are REALLY important.  Irrespective of the 'direction' of reading (left to right languages/ or right to left), all users focus attention on the first few words.  Interest quickly wanes.
  • Multilingual search is ideal. At the very least make allowances for both British and US English.  Be kind to poor spellers.
  • Everyone needs an internationalised site.  But be aware of local differences.  Australian users favoured a domain.  Arab users were more likely to trust international sites.  Localised sites can be used to target specific, important, regional markets.