Here at UX24/7, we carry out a large amount of international UX research. Over time, as we work in more countries, we continue to learn more about the differences in culture and coordinating UX projects in new territories.
This has inspired our latest blog series in which our team share their experiences of carrying out user research in various countries around the world.
I am in Bucharest this week as we are running user research for a global brand we work with and so I thought I’d share a few tips on coming to Romania and running research here.
Travel to Bucharest is pretty straight forward and getting from the airport to the city centre is possible via taxi, bus or Uber. I chose Uber as my research suggested the bus stops everywhere and would take ages but as it happened I sat in traffic and the trip took over an hour. I gather from the local people I met that Bucharest has legendary traffic problems and that there are more cars than people in the city, although that may be an urban myth. The Uber cost 57 LEI, which is just over £10.
The focus of the research we are carrying out is on an eCommerce website. Online buyer behaviour in Romania differs in that preferred payment is on delivery rather than at the time of purchase. Romanians also get 30 days money back guarantee when they shop online which isn’t available in store so quite an incentive and the people we met were encouraged to buy online as a result.
Here, online shopping is dominated by Emag and is the first place most shoppers go for comparison, selection, price and reviews on a huge range of products. Amazon has only just arrived in Romania and some locals told me they expect Emag to be acquired. Emag doesn’t stock all the products that are listed and refers out to other retailers for some so is part retailer part.
Running the Research
Although we set up our devices in Romanian and with Romanian keyboards / keypads, many Romanians don’t use this configuration. Instead they prefer to leave devices in English, and in fact more than one claimed they couldn’t change the settings on their phone unless in English.
Finally, a bit of process advice if you are organising research in Romania. One of the hurdles we had to get over was their interpretation of GDPR law. The participant recruiter wanted to tell participants who the end client was (the brand), which would have defeated the object for us as we wanted to do open tasks where they showed unbiased natural behaviour. The recruiter felt data was being shared not only with us but also with our client, even though the information on participants was non-sensitive nor attributable. If you don’t get this right, you may find participants are told which brand is under consideration and this can of course bias their feedback.
Leave a comment below sharing your experiences, we would love to hear them.