Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 60, Issue 6, pp 1033–1050

Trends in culturally relevant interface design features for Latino Web site users

Development Article


There is a lack of published research on designing Web-based instruction for the adult U.S. Latino population. Instructional designers need guidance on how to design culturally relevant learning environments for this audience, particularly for Latino people from Mexican heritage. The authors used content analysis to investigate the extent to which 20 U.S. state food stamp Web sites and 20 Mexican state government Web sites contained culturally relevant interface features targeted at the Spanish-speaking Latino population. Web sites were coded for 10 features distilled from Hofstede’s work on cultural differences. Results indicated that more culturally and linguistically relevant features, including Hofstede’s dimensions of collectivism, power distance, and uncertainty avoidance, as well as adequacy of information in Spanish, were found on Mexican than on U.S. Web sites. The findings suggest that Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory might provide a useful framework for designing Web-based resources for the adult U.S. Spanish-speaking Latino population and provides additional evidence to further investigate if Web-based interface features tailored for U.S. Latino Web users motivate users, strengthen communication, and promote learning.


Latino Hispanic Interface Culture Web site 


  1. Alessi, S. M., & Trollip, S. R. (2001). Multimedia for learning: Methods and development (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  2. Al-Harthi, A. S. (2005). Distance higher education experiences of Arab Gulf students in the United States: A cultural perspective. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 6(3). Accessed 12 Feb 2012.
  3. Antun, J. M., Strick, S., & Thomas, L. (2007). Exploring culture and diversity for Hispanics in restaurant online recruitment efforts. Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism, 6(1), 85–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ayala, X. G., Elder, J. P., Campbell, N. R., Engelberg, M., Olson, S., Moreno, C., et al. (2001). Nutrition communication for a Latino community: Formative research foundations. Family Community Health, 24(3), 72–87.Google Scholar
  5. Baack, D. W., & Singh, N. (2007). Culture and web communications. Journal of Business Research, 60(3), 181–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bourges-Waldegg, P., & Scrivener, S. A. R. (2000). Applying and testing an approach to design for culturally diverse user groups. Interacting with Computers, 13(2), 111–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cappel, J. J., & Huang, Z. (2007). A usability analysis of company websites. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 48(1), 117–123.Google Scholar
  8. U.S. Census Bureau (2007). Race and Hispanic origin in 2005. Accessed 15 Jan 2010.
  9. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (2009). Food stamps on-line: A review of state government food stamp websites. Accessed 28 Jan 2010.
  10. Cifuentes, L., & Murphy, K. L. (2000). Images of Texan and Mexican cultures shared in a telecommunications partnership. Distance Education, 21(2), 300–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). New York: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  12. Dormann, C. (2006). Cultural representations in web design: Differences in emotions and values. In T. McEwan, J. Gulliksen, & D. Benyon (Eds.), People and computers XIX—the bigger picture: Proceedings of HCI 2005 (pp. 285–299). London: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fleiss, J. L., Levin, B., & Paik, M. C. (2003). Statistical methods for rates and proportions (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ford, G., & Kotzé, P. (2005). Designing usable interfaces with cultural dimensions. In M. F. Costabile, & F. Paterno (Eds.), Human-computer interaction-INTERACT 2005, lecture notes in computer science (vol 3585, pp. 713–726).Google Scholar
  15. Goodwin, L. D. (2001). Interrater agreement and reliability. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, 5(1), 13–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hawkey, R. (2002). The lifelong learning game: Season ticket or free transfer? Computers & Education, 38(1–3), 5–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hofstede, G., & Hofstede, G. J. (2005). Cultures and organizations software of the mind (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  18. Holsti, O. R. (1969). Content analysis for the social sciences and humanities. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  19. Huck, S. W. (2008). Reading statistics and research (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  20. Ingram, A. L., Ou, C.-M., & Owen, R. J. (2007). Cross-cultural issues in online education. Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology, 3(1), 23–43.Google Scholar
  21. Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Definition. In A. Januszewski & M. Molenda (Eds.), Educational technology: A definition with commentary (pp. 1–14). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  22. Kassarjian, H. H. (1977). Content analysis in consumer research. Journal of Consumer Research, 4(1), 8–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Keller, J. M. (2007). Motivation and performance. In R. A. Reiser & J. V. Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (2nd ed., pp. 82–92). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.Google Scholar
  24. Krippendorff, K. (2004). Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  25. Ku, H.-Y., & Lohr, L. L. (2003). A case study of Chinese students’ attitudes toward their first online learning experience. Educational Technology Research and Development, 51(3), 95–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Landis, J. R., & Koch, G. G. (1977). The measurement of observer agreement for categorical data. Biometrics, 33(1), 159–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lewin, C., Facer, K., & Tsai, C.-C. (2012). Learning futures: Education, technology and sustainability—The CAL 2011 conference. Computers & Education, 59(1), 1–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Liu, X., Liu, S., Lee, S.-H., & Magjuka, R. J. (2010). Cultural differences in online learning: International student perceptions. Educational Technology & Society, 13(3), 177–188.Google Scholar
  29. Livingston, G., Parker, K., & Fox, S. (2009). Latinos online, 20062008: Narrowing the gap. Washington DC: Pew Hispanic Center. Accessed 26 Feb 2010.
  30. Lombard, M., Snyder-Duch, J., & Bracken, C. C. (2002). Content analyses in mass communication: Assessment and reporting of intercoder reliability. Human Communication Research, 28(4), 587–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Luna, D., Peracchio, L. A., & de Juan, M. D. (2002). Cross-cultural and cognitive aspects of web site navigation. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 30(4), 397–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Marcus, A., & Gould, E. W. (2001). Cultural dimensions and global web design: What? So what? Now what? Emeryville: Aaron Marcus and Associates Inc. Accessed 15 Jan 2010.
  33. Martin, C. (2011). An information literacy perspective on learning and new media. On the Horizon, 19(4), 268–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Moore, M., Bias, R. G., Prentice, K., Fletcher, R., & Vaughn, T. (2009). Web usability testing with a Hispanic medically underserved population. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 97(2), 114–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Na, J.-C., & Chia, S. W. (2008). Impact of online resources on informal learners: Parents’ perception of their parenting skills. Computer and Education, 51(1), 173–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Neuendorf, K. A. (2002). The content analysis guidebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  37. Pew Hispanic Center (2009). Hispanics in the news: Events drive the narrative. Washington DC: Pew Hispanic Center. Accessed 26 Feb 2010.
  38. Purnell, L. D., & Paulanka, B. J. (2008). Transcultural health care: A culturally competent approach (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.Google Scholar
  39. Rainie, L., Estabrook, L., & Witt, E. (2007). Information searches that solve problems. Washington DC: Pew Research Center. Accessed 3 March 2010.
  40. Recabarren, M., Nussbaum, M., & Leiva, C. (2008). Cultural divide and the internet. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(6), 2917–2926.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rogers, P. C., Graham, C. R., & Mayes, C. T. (2007). Cultural competence and instructional design: Exploration research into the delivery of online instruction cross-culturally. Educational Technology Research and Development, 55(2), 197–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rossett, A., & Hoffman, B. (2012). Informal learning. In R. A. Reiser & J. V. Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (3rd ed., pp. 169–177). Boston: Pearson.Google Scholar
  43. Singh, N., & Baack, D. W. (2004). Web site adaptation: A cross-cultural comparison of U.S. and Mexican web sites. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 9(4).Google Scholar
  44. Singh, N., & Pereira, A. (2005). The culturally customized Web site: Customizing web sites for the global marketplace. Burlington, MA: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  45. Singh, N., Xhao, H., & Hu, X. (2003). Cultural adaptation on the web: A study of American companies’ domestic and Chinese websites. Journal of Global Information Management, 11(3), 63–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Singh, N., Baack, D. W., Pereira, A., & Baack, D. (2008). Culturally customizing websites for U.S. Hispanic online consumers. Journal of Advertising Research, 48(2), 224–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Singh, N., Toy, D. R., & Wright, L. K. (2009). A diagnostic framework for measuring web-site localization. Thunderbird International Business Review, 51(3), 281–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Smith, A., Dunckley, L., French, T., Minocha, S., & Chang, Y. (2004). A process model for developing usable cross-cultural websites. Interacting with Computers, 16(1), 63–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Thompson, L., & Ku, H.-Y. (2005). Chinese graduate students’ experiences and attitudes toward online learning. Educational Media International, 42(1), 33–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tweddle, S., James, C., Daniels, H., Davies, D., Harvey, P., James, N., et al. (2000). Use of a web site for learning about cancer. Computers & Education, 35(4), 309–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. (2010). Reaching low-income Hispanics with nutrition assistance. Accessed 3 March 2010.
  52. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. (2011). Nutrition program facts: Supplemental nutrition assistance program education (SNAP-Ed). Accessed 5 June 2012.
  53. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012). Health communication and health information technology. Accessed 6 June 2012.
  54. Uzuner, S. (2009). Questions of culture in distance learning: A research review. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3), 1–19.Google Scholar
  55. Valdés, M. I. (2000). Marketing to American Latinos: A guide to the in-culture approach (Part 1). Ithaca, NY: Paramount Market.Google Scholar
  56. Valdés, M. I. (2008). Hispanic customers for life: A fresh look at acculturation. Ithaca, NY: Paramount Market.Google Scholar
  57. Wang, M. (2007). Designing online courses that effectively engage learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. British Journal of Educational Technology, 38(2), 294–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wild, M. (1999). Editorial: Accommodating issues of culture and diversity in the application of new technologies. British Journal of Educational Technology, 30(3), 195–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Technology Department, College of Education and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Northern ColoradoGreeleyUSA
  2. 2.Applied Statistics and Research Methods Department, College of Education and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Northern ColoradoGreeleyUSA

Personalised recommendations