International User Research – Look to Cities Not Countries

international ux

Cities are the key for international user research

More and more companies are operating on a global scale. And, as the world becomes more connected, that trend will only increase.

However, when many organisations conduct international usability research, though they may have detailed personas for their own country (say, four or five personas) they often study other countries as though they were assessing a single persona.

This is clearly wrong. A persona represents a group of people who exhibit similar behavioural patterns in their purchasing decisions, uses of technology or products, customer service preference, lifestyle choices, and so on. It just doesn’t make sense to assume that a country will be united in these respects – just think how different Manchester and London are.

Rather than focusing on countries, companies pursuing international usability research would do better to look at cities instead.

In a globalised world which is becoming increasingly urbanised (around 2/3 of us will live in a city by 2050), many city-dwellers are experiencing a lot of the same things, no matter whether they’re in Tokyo or Paris. They shop at many of the same shops, listen to much of the same music, watch many of the same films, and visit many of the same websites.

However, no two cities are the same. Culture, wealth, health, age, and collective interests and preferences vary significantly between cities.

For companies engaged in usability research, then, it would make much more sense to study cities rather than countries. Doing so would be economical – since cities account for a large proportion of a countries population – and astute – since cities represent the places where people are able to have the most global experiences.

If you are interested in conducting international user research and would like to speak to one of our experts about how we can help you please get in touch, ring us on +44(0)800 024624 or email us at

Related Posts