The Impact of Cultural Characteristics on International Web Design in Marketing Communications


This book is about the localisation of commercial websites of four international financial institutions in different cultural environments where their branches are located. The purpose of the research was the fact that visitors to websites of international organisations still have to overcome several obstacles when doing their purchases on the web. Consequently, they have many reasons to leave the website, among which a crucial reason is already based on first impressions when entering the site. Localised websites for example, lack translation, clear indication of local pricing and shipping information, and provide inadequate language support on post-sales assistance. These are reasons for potential customers to leave such sites to the benefit of competitors with better localised websites. This should startle international organisations as they know their buying public in the various countries they operate, but still under-invest in their websites for international markets. The research, which is conducted on the basis of the cultural dimensions and frameworks of several Interculturalists, such as Geert Hofstede and Edward T. Hall, leads to a deeper insight on the actual level of website localisation in the banking sector. The analysis provides three outcomes. Firstly, regarding the level of localisation, the cultural orientations expected were met to a relevant extent by the analysed websites. Secondly, the design of the analysed native websites matched even better with those that were localised from foreign banks to the particular country, than the websites matched with the cultural orientations expected. This may let us assume that companies of the banking sector already refer to a certain standard of website localisation, matching the cultural orientations to a relevant extent. Thirdly, the book offers an approach to best practice, and provides a list of cultural website design requirements for further website localisation projects.

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