Matthew McCool

Optimizing the International User Experience

Adapting online media for the global user experience normally consists of modifications to currency formats, time zones, and translation. While these three elements are crucial for the internationalization process, they remain secondary to the deepest dimensions of culture. If users from around the world are to enjoy an optimal user experience, then the deepest dimensions of culture must be embedded within the deliverable.

This presentation begins by explaining the five most important dimensions of culture, including social fabric, time, uncertainty avoidance, communication context, and power distance. Each cultural dimension is further explained by way of real-world examples, all of which have been provided by the presenter to users from around the world. This presentation concludes by providing a brief list of suggestions for optimizing the international user experience. The goal of this presentation, then, is to provide the necessary tools for optimizing the international user experience.


Matthew McCool began his career in neuroscience but soon migrated to the humanities, web development, and internationalization. Matthew frequently writes on the intersection between culture and technology, and recently finished a short project on the same topic for O'Reilly Media. Matthew is currently an assistant professor of intercultural communication and information design at Southern Polytechnic SU in Marietta, GA.