A Study of Search User Interface Design based on
Hofstede’s Six Cultural Dimensions
Karen Chessum
, Haiming Liu
and Ingo Frommholz
School of Computer Science and Technology, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, U.K.
School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, U.K.
School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, U.K.
Keywords: Cross-cultural Information Retrieval, Cross-cultural Theory, Website Design, Human-Computer Information
Retrieval (HCIR), Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).
Abstract: An information seeker’s cultural background could influence their preference for search user interface (UI)
design. To study cultural influences Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions have been applied to website design
for a number of years. In this paper, we examine if Hofstede’s six cultural dimension can be applied to inform
the design of search engine user interfaces. The culturally designed search user interfaces have been evaluated
in a study with 148 participants of different cultural backgrounds. The results have been analysed to determine
if Hofstede’s cultural dimensions are appropriate for understanding users’ preferences on search user interface
design. Whilst the key findings from the study suggest Hofstede cross-cultural dimensions can be used to
model users’ preferences on search interface design, further work is still needed for particular cultural
dimensions to reinforce the conclusions.
A user’s cultural orientation could influence their
preferences on user interface (UI) design, as noted by
(Reinecke et al., 2010). Contemporary search engines
such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, do not
differentiate between different user types or the
cultural backgrounds of their users. Research
conducted by Slone (2002, p 1166 ) states, “Both
motivation and experience, elements of goals and
mental models, played equally strong roles in this
result. In fact, goals and mental models work in
tandem to determine overall searching behaviour”. A
user’s cultural background influences their mental
model formation.
One means of defining culture is mental
programming. Mental programming can be thought
of as patterns of thinking, feeling and actions, based
upon what we have learned throughout our lifetime.
Hofstede (1991, p 4) writes, “Much of it has been
acquired in early childhood”. Thinking patterns,
feelings and actions which have been learned over
one’s lifetime, once learned have to be unlearned
before new patterns can be absorbed. Hofstede,
(1991, p 5) also noted, Culture is learned not
inherited”. Culture is different from human nature on
one hand and from personality on the other hand.
Culture as described by Hofstede (1991, p 5) is “the
collective programming of the mind which
distinguishes the members of one group or category
of people from another”.
In our work, we examine cross-cultural aspects in
search UI design. The overall aim of our research is
to study the potential differences and different
preferences between cultures when it comes to search
UI. Due to the reported importance of Hofstede’s
work in international communication, (Wardrobe,
2005) international management, (Bing, 2004)
international marketing, (Mooij and Hofstede, 2010)
and use in website design, (Marcus and Gould, 2000:
Liu, 2021), we base our considerations on Hofstede’s
Our contribution is as follows: firstly, we discuss
how we have used Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions
Chessum, K., Liu, H. and Frommholz, I.
A Study of Search User Interface Design based on Hofstede’s Six Cultural Dimensions.
DOI: 10.5220/0011528700003323
In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Computer-Human Interaction Research and Applications (CHIRA 2022), pages 145-154
ISBN: 978-989-758-609-5; ISSN: 2184-3244
2022 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
to inform our prototype search UI design. Secondly,
in our study we use the prototype UIs we designed
based on Hofstede’s dimensions to determine if
Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and index scores for
different countries match the user preference of the
search UI design. For example, if Hofstede’s cultural
dimensions Index scores indicate a country’s culture
is towards the high end of the Masculinity dimension,
do users from this cultural background actually prefer
a search UI designed with high Masculinity in mind?
To accomplish our aims, the remainder of the
paper is structured as follows: to justify our choice of
applying Hofstede’s dimensions, we briefly review
different cultural models in the next section.
Subsequently, we discuss by example how
Hofstede’s dimensions informed the design of our
prototype UIs. Next, we present our study and its
results to answer the question of whether Hofstede’s
index scores can be used to indicate the search UI
preferences of users from different cultural
backgrounds. Finally, we offer our conclusion.
Several cultural models have been critically reviewed
for the suitability of this research, which is to
effectively model different cultures and be able to
inform the design of cross-cultural search UIs. Below
are the details on what they are and why we decide to
continue our investigation with Hofstede’s model.
2.1 Hall
Edward Hall, an anthropologist, was a pioneer in
cross-cultural business communication. Hall (1976)
defined culture as using ‘high context’ (HC) and ‘low
context‘(LC). A high context communication, as
noted by Smith et al., (2004) is where, “little has to be
said or written because most of the information is
either in the physical environment or within the
person, while very little is in the coded, explicit part
of the message”. Liu (2021) notes ‘people from high-
context cultures prefer face-to-face communication’
and continues by saying high-context cultures ‘look
for both less-direct verbal and subtler nonverbal cues
during the communication’.
This high-low context for cultures refers to how
information is stored and flows. Whereas in a ‘low
context’ culture the information contained in the
message is explicit, little is hidden.
Hall identified the Primary Message Systems
(PMS). These systems are non-lingual ways in which
humans communicate with one another. Hall
identified 10 PMS each relating to a facet of human
activity, (Hall, 1990). However, it is Hall’s ‘high-
context’ and ‘low-context’ work that is most cited
within a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
2.2 Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner
Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner also looked at
culture from a dimension level and defined seven
cultural dimensions. They took Parson’s five
relational orientations, Parsons (1951) as a starting
These dimensions are units that can be used to
make comparisons and are as follows: Universalism vs
Particularism, Individualism vs Communitarianism,
Specific vs Diffuse, Neutral vs Emotional,
Achievement vs Ascription, Sequential time vs
Synchronous time and Internal direction vs Outer
2.3 Nisbett
Nisbett, a social psychologist, examines the
differences between Eastern and Western cultures. As
noted by Oshlyansky (2007), Nisbett looks at the
“processes of thought, perception, attention,
organisation of knowledge, understanding” and other
mental processes. He uses ‘holistic’ and ‘analytic’
thought patterns or mental processes to distinguish
between Eastern and Western cultures, with the West
on the analytics side and East/Asian on the holistic
side. Nisbett and Miyamoto, (2005) says, “the
evidence indicates that people in Western cultures
focus on salient objects and use rules and
categorization for purposes of organizing the
environment. By contrast, people in East Asian
cultures focus more holistically on relationships and
similarities among objects when organizing the
2.4 Hofstede
Geert Hofstede, a Dutch anthropologist, carried out
in-depth interviews with hundreds of IBM employees
in 53 countries. He identified four cultural
dimensions and published his research at the end of
the 1970s. The fifth dimension Long-term Time
Orientation (LTO) was added in 1991 from work
carried out by Michael Harris Bond, supported by
Hofstede. An additional sixth dimension, Indulgence
versus Restraint (IND) added in 2010 is described in
Hofstede et al., (2010) following the analysis of the
World Values Survey data (from the World Values
CHIRA 2022 - 6th International Conference on Computer-Human Interaction Research and Applications
Survey Organisation) from 93 countries by Michael
Minkov. Hofstede et al., (2010) contains details of all
six dimensions.
2.5 Why Hofstede?
Geert Hofstede’s cultural research is probably one of
the most well-known cultural models and as noted by
Ghemawat and Reiche, (2011) the most widely used.
Hofstede created six dimensions by which cultures
can be compared, (Reid, 2015). Hofstede’s work has
been used in a number of disciplines, examples of
which are global branding and advertising’, (Mooij
and Hofstede, 2010), consumer behaviour, (Milner et
al., 1993), management control systems, (Chatterjee,
2014), cross-cultural psychology, (Hofstede, 2011)
and cross-cultural HCI research (Smith et al., 2004).
As noted by Oshlyansky (2007) when discussing
cultural models used in HCI states, “By far the most
popular of these models is Hofstede’s”. Smith et al.,
(2004) also state, Hofstede’s (1991) dimensions of
culture that are the most often quoted theories in
relation to cross-cultural usability”. Mooij and
Hofstede (2010) assert “People perform information-
seeking tasks faster when using web content created
by designers from their own culture”. Mooij and
Hofstede (2010) go on to say, culturally adapted
websites are more usable, and users are more likely to
have a more positive outlook toward them.
Examples of how Hofstede’s work has been used in
HCI, are shown by Marcus and Gould (2000), who
used Hofstede’s five-dimensional model to develop a
set of website design guidelines and Smith et al.,
2004) who incorporated Hofstede’s dimensions in
their process model. Research undertaken by
Chessum et al., (2014) looked at Hofstede’s five
dimensions to group users for cross-cultural
information retrieval. However, since then, Hofstede
has added a sixth dimension, called ‘Indulgence v
Restraint’ (IND), to his cultural model.
This work examines whether Hofstede’s
dimensions can be used in the design of search UIs.
The attributes of Hofstede’s six dimensions have been
researched extensively in relation to HCI by the
authors of this paper. We considered the following
interpretations of the six dimensions (user interface
Examples of UI 1 to UI 12 can be seen at
designs UI 1 to UI 12
) applicable to Human-
Computer Interaction (HCI) design.
There has been generally less research conducted
regarding Hofstede’s most recent, sixth dimension,
Indulgence v Restraint (IND). Many works conducted
did not include this last dimension. Examples are
(Marcus and Gould, 2000), (Smith et al., 2004),
(Chessum et al., 2014) and (Karreman et al., 2016).
Hofstede’s additional sixth dimension is included in
this research and the descriptions and references
given below (Sections 3.1 to 3.6).
3.1 Power Distance (PD)
Power Distance is the amount of unequal power
within a culture that members of that culture are
prepared to accept or expect. User interface designs
for UI 1 and UI 2 are given below:
3.1.1 UI 1 High (PD)
Images of Experts, official buildings, official
logos, prominence given to security and
restrictions (Marcus and Gould 2000).
Structured website design (Burgmann et al.
“Older people are both respected and feared” use
images of older people for wisdom and
credibility (Hofstede 2011).
3.1.2 UI 2 Low (PD)
Status is displayed to leaders rather than the
population, staff or consumers. Information
hierarchy is shallow (Marcus and Gould, 2000).
Use a looser structure to allow users to explore
your site for themselves (Nahai, 2013), (Marcus
and Gould, 2000).
Use earned evaluations e.g. ratings, testimonials,
likes, to promote your goods or services (Nahai,
“Older people are neither respected nor feared”
Show images of younger or youthful people
(Hofstede, 2011).
3.2 Individualism (IDV)
Individualism within a culture is where the individual
is expected only to take care of themselves and their
immediate family. There is no expectation for them to
take care of anyone else, as opposed to a collectivist
society, where members take care of extended
A Study of Search User Interface Design based on Hofstede’s Six Cultural Dimensions
families and other group members. User interface
designs for UI 3 and UI 4 are given below:
3.2.1 UI 3 High (IDV)
“High text-to-image ratio”. Avoid cluttered
graphics. Show positive images of goal
achievement (Gould et al., 2000).
“Create competitions and challenges to engage
your customers.Give visitors a sense of
personal achievement to motivate actions”.
Have content that has ‘novelty’ and ‘difference’
in order to ‘attract attention’ (Nahai, 2013).
Have their own personal goals. Follow their likes
and dislikes (Sinha, 2014).
“Speaking one's mind is healthy” (Hofstede
3.2.2 UI 4 Low (IDV)
“High image-to-text ratio” (Gould et al., 2000).
Transparency, give users full disclosure, for
example how their data would be used. “Show
that you respect privacy and security of personal
info”. “Engage the community – ‘we’ not ‘me’”
(Nahai, 2013).
Emphasis on social and organisational goals.
An individuals goals are less important (Gould
et al., 2000).
Members of a collective society, aspire to
achieve their in-groups’ goals (Sinha, 2014).
“Harmony should always be maintained’
(Hofstede, 2011).
3.3 Masculinity (MAS)
With this dimension, Hofstede refers to gender roles
rather than to physical gender. Masculine roles
consist of assertiveness, toughness and competition.
Masculine work objectives incorporate “earnings,
recognition, advancements and challenge”, as noted
by Marcus (2002). While feminine roles are
traditionally ones with an emphasis on caring for the
home, family/children, people and tenderness are
considered prevalent. User interface designs for UI 5
and UI 6 are given below:
3.3.1 UI 5 High (MAS)
User attention obtained by games and
competitions. Work tasks, roles, and skills, quick
results obtained for limited actions. Navigation
focused on exploring but also on control (Marcus
and Gould, 2000).
Masculine societies are competitive. Motivated
by achievement, heroism, assertiveness, and
materialism (Idler, 2013).
“Admiration for the strong” (Hofstede 2011).
Bright contrasting colours (Voehringer-Kuhnt,
2002), (Dormann and Chisalita, 2002).
3.3.2 UI 6 Low (MAS)
User attention is obtained by the use of poetry,
aesthetics, and appealing to uniting values
(Marcus and Gould, 2000).
Provide contact information and be prepared for
feedback and questions. “This group is very
cooperative and if they want to give feedback,
they don’t hesitate to get in contact with you”.
“Feminine societies are consensus-oriented”.
With a preference for values, corresponding to
cooperation, modesty, care for the weak, and
quality of life (Idler, 2013).
“Sympathy for the weak” (Hofstede, 2011).
Pastel colours, low saturation (Voehringer-
Kuhnt, 2002, (Dormann and Chisalita, 2002).
3.4 Uncertainty Avoidance (UA)
Uncertainty avoidance relates to the extent a culture
is either comfortable or uncomfortable with
uncertainty or unknown situations. User interface
designs for UI 7 and UI 8 are given below:
3.4.1 UI 7 High (UA)
Tries to show/predict the results or effects of
actions before the user acts. Navigation
structures are designed to help prevent users
from becoming lost. Any ambiguity can be
decreased by the use of “Redundant cues”, e.g.
design, sound visual aids (Burgmann et al.,
Simplicity, with clear metaphors, restricted
options, and limited volume of data (Marcus and
Gould, 2000).
“The uncertainty inherent in life is felt as a
continuous threat that must be fought”. “Need for
clarity and structure” (Hofstede, 2011).
3.4.2 UI 8 Low (UA)
Information is maximised by the use of colour
coding, typeface, font, and sound. Use multiple
links but not redundant cueing. Limited control
over navigation e.g. Links could open content in
new windows that lead away from the original
webpage(s). Complexity with maximum content
CHIRA 2022 - 6th International Conference on Computer-Human Interaction Research and Applications
and options. Acceptance of exploring and risk
(can even be encouraged), with a stigma on
“over- protection.” (Marcus and Gould, 2000).
“The uncertainty inherent in life is accepted and
each day is taken as it comes”, “Comfortable
with ambiguity and chaos” (Hofstede, 2011).
3.5 Long-term Time Orientation (LTO)
Also known as, Long-term Orientation versus Short-
term Normative Orientation (LTO). This dimension
was identified later by Hofstede and Bond (1984),
where Bond had a questionnaire re-designed, with a
Chinese culture bias. This he called the Chinese value
survey, (CVS). LTO is a Confucian philosophy,
where members value long-term gain over short-term
gain. User interface designs for UI 9 and UI 10 are
given below:
3.5.1 UI 9 High (LTO)
Offer ways for the user to save browsing history,
e.g., wish lists. Together with means of sharing
on social media. Persons with long-term
orientation decisions are comprehensive and
grounded “for the future” (Idler, 2013).
Patience shown in attaining results and reaching
goals. “Relationships as a source of information
and credibility” (Marcus and Gould, 2000).
“Perseverance in achieving results” (Makkonen,
“Thrift and perseverance are important goals”.
“Large savings quota, funds available for
Investment” (Hofstede, 2011).
3.5.2 UI 10 Low (LTO)
Users require quick results that are consistent
with known values and traditions. Persons with a
short-term orientation would appear “to live
more in the past and in the present than in the
future” (Idler, 2013).
Persons from a very short-term oriented culture
e.g. Spain have a tendency “to live in the
moment” (Nahai, 2013).
A wish for instant results and achieving goals.
“Rules as a source of information and
credibility” (Marcus and Gould, 2000).
“Focus on achieving quick results” (Makkonen,
“Service to others is an important goal”. “Social
spending and consumption” (Hofstede, 2011).
3.6 Indulgence vs Restraint (IND)
The additional sixth dimension, relates to happiness,
freedom of expression and feeling in control of your
own life, (Hofstede, 2011). User interface designs for
UI 11 and UI 12 are given below:
3.6.1 UI 11 High (IND)
Use and encourage user-generated content.
“Make interactions fun”. “Reflect loose gender
roles by using a range of models” (Nahai, 2013).
People from an Indulgent culture have a
tendency to put an emphasis on individual
happiness and wellbeing. Their leisure time is
more significant and people experience more
freedom and “personal control” (MacLachlan,
Maintaining order in the nation is not given a
high priority. A perception of personal life
control. Freedom of speech is seen as important
(Hofstede, 2011).
3.6.2 UI 12 Low (IND)
Frugal, show how they can save money.
“Emphasise how you serve the community”.
“Strict, cultured gender roles” (Nahai, 2013).
People from a restrained culture do not display
positive emotions as easily, with freedom,
happiness and leisure time not assigned the same
significance (MacLachlan, 2013).
Higher number of police officers per 100,000
population. A perception of helplessness: what
happens to me is not my own doing. Freedom of
speech is not a primary concern (Hofstede,
As discussed above, the characteristics of Hofstede’s
six cultural dimensions have been used to create
twelve prototype UIs. These consist of two UIs
created for each dimension, with one interface set for
the lower end and one for the higher end of each
dimension. (e.g., “high masculinity”, low
A Study of Search User Interface Design based on Hofstede’s Six Cultural Dimensions
Figure 1: Prototype High Masculinity (MAS) UI 5.
Here we offer two examples of how Hofstede’s
Masculinity dimension, both, high MAS shown in
Figure 1 and low MAS shown in Figure 2, have been
applied to the search user UI design
. The prototype
UI design was constructed using the design features
described in 3.3 above. How the design features are
implemented are shown below in tables 1 and 2
Table 1: High Masculinity.
High (MAS) HCI Design
HCI Design Feature
Implementation UI 5
User attention obtained by
games and competitions.
(Marcus and Gould, 2000)
This has been achieved by,
showing text links for
‘Competitions’ and ‘Latest
Work tasks, roles, and
skills, quick results
obtained for limited
(Marcus and Goul
, 2000)
‘Quick’ search textual
links are provided,
offering quick results for
popular searches.
Navigation focused on
exploring but also control.
(Marcus and Gould, 2000)
‘Quick’ searches and
search links to ‘Web’,
‘Images’, ‘Video’ and
Masculine societies are
competitive. Motivated by
achievement, heroism,
assertiveness, and
(Idler, 2013)
A non-cluttered interface
with textual links to News,
Weather and Latest
movies. Also, textual links
for ‘Competitions’ and
‘Latest Games’.
Only graphical image
icons are for ‘YouTube’,
‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook’,
allowing faster access to
these social media
Admiration for the strong”
Hofstede, 2011
A general masculine ‘look
and feel’.
Bright contrasting colours.
-Kuhnt, 2002),
Bold colours such as red,
lue, dark
lue and black
Examples of UI 1 to UI 12 can be seen at
(Dormann and Chisalita,
have been used for
‘Quick’ search textual
links. With a contrasting
white for ‘About Us’,
‘Sign up’ and ‘Log In’.
With black textual links
for ‘Privacy’, ‘Terms’ and
Figure 2: Prototype Low Masculinity (MAS) UI 6.
Table 2: Low Masculinity.
Low (MAS) HCI Design
HCI Design Feature
lementation UI 6
User attention is obtained
by the use of poetry,
aesthetics, and appealing
to uniting values.
Marcus an
. 2000
A general ‘softer’
appearance with more and
larger images and icons.
Provide contact
information and be
prepared for feedback and
(Idler, 2013)
Two ‘About Us’ links and
a ‘Feedback’ link.
“Feminine societies are
consensus-oriented”. With
a preference for values,
corresponding to
cooperation, modesty, care
of the weak, and quality of
Idler, 2013
A ‘Community Matters’
link and imagery showing
multicultural inclusion.
‘Family’ link and imagery.
“Sympathy for the weak
(Hofstede, 2011)
A general softer, less
masculine aesthetic ‘look
and feel’
Pastel colours, low
(Voehringer-Kuhnt, 2002),
(Dormann and Chisalita,
The use of pastel colours
for background, ‘Weather’
icon, ‘News’ icon, Logo,
and textual system links,
such as ‘About Us’, ‘Sign
up’, ‘Log in’, ‘Feedback’,
‘Privacy’, ‘Terms’ and
CHIRA 2022 - 6th International Conference on Computer-Human Interaction Research and Applications
This paper examines the data obtained from the
research of the twelve prototype search UIs, designed
using Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions.
Participants of this survey have been taken mostly
from the staff, the current student base and the alumni
of the University of Bedfordshire, England. However,
this survey was also promoted internationally via
social media by a number of University staff. The
survey was completely anonymous. The data for this
study was collected via an online survey. Our survey
was constructed using the following two sections.
5.1 Survey Section One
This section consists of potentially seven questions
depending upon the user’s responses. This collected
general background information about the participant
and consisted of closed questions relating to gender,
age, occupation, and culture most identified with. In
addition, there were several questions relating to
languages spoken and place of residence.
5.2 Survey Section Two
In this section of the survey, the participant/user is
exposed to the twelve prototype UIs, these consisting
of two for each of the six dimensions and are
sequentially numbered User Interface (UI) 1 to User
Interface (UI) 12.
The users were asked to pick their preferences
from the twelve UIs designed using the above design
features (Sections 3.1 to 3.6). The search UI’S were
paired for each of the six dimensions, with one UI
being the low-end design and the other UI being the
high-end design for all six dimensions, i.e. two UIs
per dimension making twelve in total. The user could
only pick one for each pair, as the responses are
mutually exclusive. This paper is based upon the
findings from this section together with the
participant’s nationality and the index scores for
Hofstede’s six dimensions.
5.3 Hypothesis
Our six hypotheses have been developed from both
the low and high aspects of Hofstede dimensions and
are detailed below:
H1: Higher PD Countries will show a preference for
UI 1 and Lower PD Countries for UI 2.
H2: Higher IDV Countries will show a preference for
UI 3 and Lower IDV Countries for UI 4.
H3: Higher MAS Countries will show a preference
for UI 5 and Lower MAS Countries for UI 6.
H4: Higher UA Countries will show a preference for
UI 7 and Lower UA Countries for UI 8.
H5: Higher LTO Countries will show a preference for
UI 9 and Lower LTO Countries for UI 10.
H6: Higher IND Countries will show a preference for
UI 11 and Lower IND Countries UI 12.
5.4 Data Analysis
The data was collected via our survey as described in
5.2 where the user was asked to select a preference
for one of the UI pairs. The participant’s nationality
is collected in section one of the survey as described
in 5.1 above. Hofstede’s country index scores have
been applied to participants who identify with the
matching nationality. These index scores are applied
for each nationality for all six dimensions.
Once the data had been collected, a quantitative
data analysis tool has been to analyse the data.
We had 148 participants who completed our survey,
made up of 101 participants who at present are
residing in the UK and 47 who are residing overseas.
We had 97 male and 51 female participants.
The 148 participants are from 33 countries.
Unfortunately, many of the countries only had 1 to 2
respondents and as such we have not included their
results. Likewise, several countries not having an
Index score calculated by Hofstede, have also been
excluded. The countries and cultures results analysed
are as follows, the number of participants given in
brackets. U.K. (Great Britain) (51) Germany (21),
Poland (3), Pakistan (10), Nigeria (5), Bangladesh
(3), Ethiopia (3), China (6), Nepal (5), Sri Lanka (3)
and India (7), with 117 participants in total.
6.1 Analysis of Preferences for Each
User’s Culture
6.1.1 Hypothesis 1 Power Distance
Both Germany and the UK are considered to be low
PD countries (both Hofstede’s country’s Index scores
35), which means a culture that supports the concept
that inequalities in their society be kept to a
minimum. Therefore, the expectation for H1 (Section
5.3) would be that such countries prefer search UI 2.
A Study of Search User Interface Design based on Hofstede’s Six Cultural Dimensions
This was not found in our data, with only 12% (UK)
resp. 14% (Germany) prefer UI 2.
Pakistan would be considered close to the central
point for a PD country with an Index score of 55.
Here, H1 (Section 5.3) has been partially supported
with 80% of users showing a preference for UI 1 and
20% for UI 2.
From the countries with a high PD according to
their Index score, our data confirmed the expected
preference for UI 1 for Poland, Nigeria, Ethiopia,
China, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India.
Against their expected preference, participants
from Bangladesh seem to not prefer UI 1. However,
we have to note that we only had a few participants
from these countries.
6.1.2 Hypothesis 2 Individualism
UK, Germany, and Poland are considered countries
with a high IDV score, which, according to our
hypothesis H2 in 5.3, means UI 3 would be preferred.
While this is supported in the case of Poland, we
observe this is not the case for the UK and Germany.
India would be considered close to the central
point for an IDV country with an index score of 48.
H2 has not been supported with 86% of users showing
a preference for UI 4 and 14% for UI 3.
Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, China,
Nepal, and Sri Lanka are low IDV countries
according to Hofstede’s Index scores, accordingly we
would expect a preference for UI 4. This is confirmed,
except for Bangladesh and Ethiopia.
6.1.3 Hypothesis 3 Masculinity
Hypothesis H3 (Section 5.3), suggests that higher
MAS Countries will show a preference for UI 5 and
lower MAS Countries will show a preference for UI
According to Hofstede’s Index score, the UK,
Germany, Poland, Nigeria, Ethiopia and China are
considered high masculine countries we would
expect a preference for search UI 5 for these
countries. This is confirmed for the UK, Germany and
Ethiopia, whereas preferences are mixed for China
and India and not confirmed for Nigeria.
Pakistan, Bangladesh and India are considered
close to the central point for a MAS country. Indeed,
no clear preference for either of the two search UIs
could be determined by our data as would be
Nepal and Sri Lanka are countries with a low
MAS index score. While the data does not allow for
determining a clear preference, there is a slight
tendency towards the (expected) search UI 6.
6.1.4 Hypothesis 4 Uncertainty Avoidance
Hypothesis H4 in 5.3, says that higher UA Countries
will show a preference for UI 7 while lower UA
Countries will show a preference for UI 8.
Poland, Pakistan, Germany and Bangladesh are
considered countries with high uncertainty
avoidance. Participants from these countries indeed
exhibited a preference for UI 7, as expected.
Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Ethiopia are countries
considered to be in the middle range when it comes to
the UA score. We would not expect any clear
preference for any of the two UIs. However, this has
not been confirmed in the case of Nigeria whose
participants exhibit a preference for UI 8. However,
Ethiopia with an index score of 55, did show a
preference for UI 7.
The UK, China, Nepal and India are countries
with a low UA score. Except in the case of Nepal, our
data disagrees with the expected preference for UI 8.
6.1.5 Hypothesis 5 Long-term Time
Long-term time orientation cultures value virtuous
behaviour, perseverance and patience for achieving
goals and results. Hypothesis H5 suggests that higher
LTO Countries will show a preference for UI 9 and
lower LTO countries will exhibit a preference for UI
design 10.
Germany and China are considered countries with
a high long-term orientation, according to Hofstede’s
Index score. However, our data do not confirm the
expected preference for search UI 9.
Countries in the middle range when it comes to
LTO are the UK, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Sri
Lanka. We can argue the expectation of no clear
preference for either UIs is confirmed (though
Pakistan shows a slight tendency for UI 9).
Countries with a low LTO score are Poland and
Nigeria, both exhibiting the expected preference for
UI 10.
There is no LTO index score reported by Hofstede
for Ethiopia and Nepal.
6.1.6 Hypothesis 6 Indulgence
For the Indulgence (IND) dimension, our hypothesis
H6 states that higher IND countries will show a
preference for UI 11 while lower IND countries will
show a preference for search UI 12.
Nigeria and the UK are both considered high
indulgence countries. Based on our data, we regard
H6 to be confirmed due to the preference for UI 11.
CHIRA 2022 - 6th International Conference on Computer-Human Interaction Research and Applications
Germany, Bangladesh, India and China have a
low IND score according to Hofstede’s Index.
Preferences for these countries are rather mixed, so
H6 is not confirmed in these cases. However, it has
been confirmed for Poland, also considered a low
IND county. There is no IND index score reported by
Hofstede for Ethiopia, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Overall, we have found 33 out of the possible 61
results that support Hofstede’s Index scores. A further
12 results were difficult to fully categorise but
partially support the hypothesis. 16 results do not
support the respective hypothesis.
Firstly, Hofstede’s Index scores do not address
search UIs but had a different focus originally. One
of our contributions is exactly to verify to what degree
these scores can be applied to search UIs. It seems,
from our data, that Hofstede’s Index scores show the
potential to inform search UIs, but they also show
further research needs to be carried out to shed some
light on the reasons why we get at times inconclusive
results and how we can better inform culturally aware
search UI design. We consider our study as an
important contribution to triggering this discussion.
Secondly, we had a limited number of participants
from some countries, although our study attracted
many participants in particular from the UK (51),
Germany (21) and Pakistan (10). However, looking at
the data, it would seem the most supported dimension
across the countries reported in this study is Long-
term Time Orientation, with 7 from 9 countries (2
countries did not have Hofstede Index scores for this
dimension) being confirmed. With Power Distance
having 6 confirmations and 2 partially confirmed and
Masculinity having 5 confirmations with 4 partially
confirmed. It indicates there is a stronger link
between specific cultural dimensions and search UI
design. This aspect requires further research, possibly
using the 3 most popular dimensions and more
We would like to thank all the participants for
contributing to this user study.
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