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CONNECTING VISUAL DESING AND HOFSTEDE'S CULTURAL DIMENSIONS: THE UNITED STATES, LATIN AMERICA AND SPAIN

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Date Issued:
2011
Abstract/Description:
My thesis discusses whether culture can be used to predict visual design preferences in documentation and whether cultures with similar attributes demonstrate similar visual design preferences. The visual design of a document is an important element in effective communication to an audience. If the audience is outside the United States, it is important to understand the attributes of that culture to create documents that are most effective for the audience. Cultural theorist Geert Hofstede describes cultural attributes in terms of six cultural dimensions: individualism versus collectivism, high versus low power distance, high versus low uncertainty avoidance, masculinity versus femininity, long-term versus short-term orientation, and indulgence versus restraint. This thesis explores whether we can identify visual design preferences in high uncertainty avoidance cultures and high power distance cultures, such as Spain and Latin American countries. To explore this topic, a study was done on sample report documents from a single company which operates in the United States, Latin America and Spain. Choosing only one company to collect samples from provided a way of discounting different corporate cultures as an influence on standards, tools and how documents are developed. As a framework for comparison of the documents, Kostelnick's visual design matrix was used to analyze the documents for graphics, data displays, document unifiers, decoding devices, and cuing devices. The results show that some elements of visual design can be predicted by cultural attribute, and there is a correlation between different cultures and their preference for similar design elements. For U.S. technical communicators working on documents for Latin American and Spanish audiences, documents need to be shorter in length with simple data displays and need to use more cuing devices to be effective for audiences in these cultures. This study also shows that for technical communicators designing documents for audiences in other cultures, studying the audience and the specific attributes of that culture will provide direction on how to design an effective technical document for that audience.
Title: CONNECTING VISUAL DESING AND HOFSTEDE'S CULTURAL DIMENSIONS: THE UNITED STATES, LATIN AMERICA AND SPAIN.
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Name(s): McDonough, Suzanne, Author
Flammia, Madelyn, Committee Chair
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2011
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: My thesis discusses whether culture can be used to predict visual design preferences in documentation and whether cultures with similar attributes demonstrate similar visual design preferences. The visual design of a document is an important element in effective communication to an audience. If the audience is outside the United States, it is important to understand the attributes of that culture to create documents that are most effective for the audience. Cultural theorist Geert Hofstede describes cultural attributes in terms of six cultural dimensions: individualism versus collectivism, high versus low power distance, high versus low uncertainty avoidance, masculinity versus femininity, long-term versus short-term orientation, and indulgence versus restraint. This thesis explores whether we can identify visual design preferences in high uncertainty avoidance cultures and high power distance cultures, such as Spain and Latin American countries. To explore this topic, a study was done on sample report documents from a single company which operates in the United States, Latin America and Spain. Choosing only one company to collect samples from provided a way of discounting different corporate cultures as an influence on standards, tools and how documents are developed. As a framework for comparison of the documents, Kostelnick's visual design matrix was used to analyze the documents for graphics, data displays, document unifiers, decoding devices, and cuing devices. The results show that some elements of visual design can be predicted by cultural attribute, and there is a correlation between different cultures and their preference for similar design elements. For U.S. technical communicators working on documents for Latin American and Spanish audiences, documents need to be shorter in length with simple data displays and need to use more cuing devices to be effective for audiences in these cultures. This study also shows that for technical communicators designing documents for audiences in other cultures, studying the audience and the specific attributes of that culture will provide direction on how to design an effective technical document for that audience.
Identifier: CFE0003734 (IID), ucf:48766 (fedora)
Note(s): 2011-05-01
M.A.
Arts and Humanities, Department of English
Masters
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): internation technical communication
visual design
Hofstede's cultural dimensions
Spain
Latin America
United States
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0003734
Restrictions on Access: public
Host Institution: UCF

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