How Cultural Differences Influence the Design of Mobile Apps:
A Case Study Between United States and Vietnamese E-Commerce Mobile Apps 

Mentor: Hannah Park
Award: KU Undergraduate Research Awards 2022
An increasingly globalized world means that designers must create culturally sensitive digital products that meet the needs of a multicultural audience. Good design should be able to communicate the same message regardless of the user’s cultural background. To do so, designers must be aware of the similarities and differences across varying cultures. Although research examining the cultural differences in web design between the U.S. and several Asian countries exists, not much has been done regarding the differences between the U.S. and Vietnam, or through the lens of mobile application design.

Using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory framework for cross-cultural communication, pairwise comparisons were made between a popular e-commerce mobile app in the U.S. (Amazon) and its Vietnamese equivalent (Tiki) to find the differences in design. In particular, the home page, product page, and check-out page of these apps were compared. Then, an evaluation would be made to see if these discrepancies correlate to differences in cultural dimensions.

The final conclusion is that some cultural dimensions influence contrasting design while others do not, and Vietnamese modern culture might be changing and aligning with U.S. culture. The collected data can serve as a general guide for U.S. designers who are designing mobile applications for a Vietnamese market and vice versa, particularly in the e-commerce field.

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