Intra- and Inter-Cultural Usability in Computer-Supported Collaboration

Ravi Vatrapu, Dan Suthers

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    In this paper, we argue for an increased scope of universal design to encompass usability and accessibility for not only users with physical disabilities but also for users from different cultures. Towards this end, we present an empirical evaluation of cultural usability in computer-supported collaboration. The premise of this research is that perception and appropriation of socio-technical affordances vary across cultures. In an experimental study with a computer-supported collaborative learning environment, pairs of participants from similar and different cultures (American-American, American-Chinese, and Chinese-Chinese) appropriated affordances and produced technological intersubjectivity. Cultural usability was analyzed through the use of performance and satisfaction measures. The results show a systemic variation in efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction between the two cultural groups. Implications of these findings for the research and practice of usability, in general, and cultural usability, in particular, are discussed in this paper.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Usability Studies
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)172-197
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


    • Affordances
    • Technological Intersubjectivity
    • Computer Supported Collaborative Learning
    • Computer Supported Intercultural Collaboration
    • Culture
    • Cultural Usability
    • Comparative Informatics
    • Apperception/Perception/Appropriation of Affordances

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