International User Research (part 2)

international user research

We spoke in a last weeks blog about international UX research and the potential for failure if the differences in overseas markets are not appreciated by the marketer. We also touched on some of the possible solutions for attacking these markets in a systematic and effective manner. It might be helpful to look in a bit more detail at the steps you need to take to ensure that your international UX research is as focused and efficient as it can possibly be to ensure both containment of cost and reliability and relevance of outputs.

1. You need to know exactly what it is you are aiming to achieve. Having clear objectives and desired outcomes is at the heart of successful international UX research. It is vital to remember that this is not just another research exercise but one in a foreign country with different customs, values and traditions and you need to get as much as possible out of the exercise to justify the time, cost and effort required.

2. Prepare by doing as much advance research as possible; use sources either within your organisation or globally to find out as much as you can about your intended market area and the characteristics of your likely targets.

3. It is almost always beneficial to get a local partner to help in framing and delivering the research. This is another area that will benefit from through research and investigation. Try to find a partner who is likely to be a good fit for you in terms of the sort of areas they cover (both geographically and product wise), who have the resources and expertise to provide they service and help you need and sit within your budget range.

4. Overseas markets will nearly always present particular problems in relation to legal issues and rules governing how business is conducted. Currency considerations and the openness of markets and financial dealing might also be critical issues. You need to familiarise yourself to what these constraints are likely to be and how the market operates in the countries you are interested in. There might be some potential showstoppers that come to light; for example, in some countries incentives (we might call them bribes!) are accepted as ways of gaining business. You might not be comfortable with this and then you need to find out the extent of the practice before even considering entering the market.

5. Make the most of your time in the overseas market to gain as much information you can about the people, environment (both social and business), infrastructures and culture. Be flexible in your outlook and don’t go in with preconceptions – in fact, go in to challenge your own perspective on almost everything and you probably won’t be far wrong. If you are adaptable and responsive to what you find you might even be able to modify your plans and offerings on the hoof and produce a better outcome for your research and, ultimately, your new business model.

International user research is an essential if you are entering a new overseas market; doing so without it can result in costly mistakes or even the complete failure of a campaign. If you would like to find out more about how you approach this important and, potentially, complex area why not email us at for an exploratory chat.

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