Culture and Design (12-03-20)

Researchers studying gestures across cultures have identified similarities and differences in their use that are relevant to people designing systems interfaces and other places/objects to be used by people from varying cultures. Zhang, Gai, Wu, Liu, Oiu, Wang, and Wang’s work with people from the US and China is discussed in a Penn State press release:  “Imagine changing the TV channel with a wave of your hand or turning on the car radio with a twist of your wrist.  Freehand gesture-based interfaces in interactive systems are becoming more common. . . . The team found that while many preferred commands were similar among both cultural groups, there were some gesture choices that differed significantly between the groups. For example, most American participants used a thumbs up gesture to confirm a task in the virtual reality environment, while Chinese participants preferred to make an OK sign with their fingers. To reject a phone call in the car, most American participants made a horizontal movement across their neck with a flat hand, similar to a “cut” motion, while Chinese participants waved a hand back and forth to reject the call.”  Findings are published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies.

“Researchers Study Influence of Cultural Factors on Gesture Design.”  2020.  Press release, Pennsylvania State University, https://news.psu.edu/story/640350/2020/11/30/research/researchers-study-...