How to do usability testing in China
English is not as widely spoken in China as it is in many other countries, so there is a strong likelihood that you will need to have simultaneous translation of any responses being made under lab conditions. This inevitably slows the process plus there is always the possibility that something may be lost in translation or missed simply due to the nature of the exchange. Trying to take in the translation, while observing subjects for other clues and indicators, can become quite difficult and distracting. And, of course, it also makes the operation more expensivand time-consuming, as you have to find and pay for, a reliable and skilled translator. So a reliable local vendor is extremely important to help you handle all those hassles. So you can focus on your work.
Dialects is not a factor for lab usability testing
In past, some post says that the lab usability testing process can be further complicated by thefact that China has many dialects, with one dialect often being largely unintelligible to speakers of others. This means you have to ensure in your recruitment that your subjects speak the same dialect as your translator. Recruitment outside the big cities can be difficult, as the infrastructure and service sector do not really exist beyond the large metropolitan areas. But it’s not true if your target users are in big cities or younger than 50 years old, because those group of people can spead mandrin Chinese and there will be no problem for communication.
Cultural differences can also be a significant factor in lab usability testing results. The Chinese are an inherently polite people, and do not like providing negative feedback. So what they say in response to questions or situations might not be what they are really thinking or feeling; observation of body language and expression then becomes of paramount importance with all the attendant problems this brings. Because there are cultural differences even some of the gestures and body language will need to be interpreted. It has been observed that Chinese people are reluctant to ‘think out loud’ when performing tasks; this introduces another variable and possible complication if you are looking to judge the effectiveness and simplicity of interactions, for example.
All of these potential difficulties apply to briefing material, equipment, software and any other communication aids or kit that is being used. Recruiting within these practical constraints might skew the sample and results so you need to be aware of this in constructing and interpreting your lab usability research project.
It is generally a good idea to have local experts helping you through the whole process. This should lessen the chance of mistakes in recruitment, session structure, equipment selection, observation and interpretation. Smartdesign Shanghai is a research and recruitment expert in China and we have worked with various clicents for different proejcts. If you need help on this, please don’t hesitate to contact us.