Symbolic Aspects of University Homepage Design: What Appeals to Different Cultures?

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ConferenceMMI-Interaktiv Journal, September 2007.
Subjectsymbolic aspects of user interface design; persuasive appeal; cultural dimensions; aesthetics; éléments d'attrait et de persuasion; dimensions culturelles; esthétique
AbstractUniversity homepages often provide the first introduction to a university for many students in an increasingly global world. As a result, a university's ability to attract new students may rest in large part on the ability of a website to attract and hold the attention of its intended audience. The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine potential cross-cultural differences in 'persuasive appeals'1 which may influence how much people from varying cultural backgrounds may trust university homepages. More specifically, this paper attempts to identify cultural differences in the symbolic aspects of these persuasive appeals in university homepages through the identification of cultural markers in message content guided by Hofstede's (1980) ground-breaking work developed over a ten year period. As the ultimate aim of this study is to design guidelines for developers of university websites that will cater to a global audience, the goals for this preliminary work are to (1) identify cultural differences in symbolic appeals in university homepages and (2) provide design guidelines for university homepages that are pertinent to, and will hold, persuasive appeal for the end user's cultural mind set. The central findings are discussed in terms of some preliminary implications for future web design.
Publication date
AffiliationNRC Institute for Information Technology; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedNo
NRC number49886
NPARC number5763597
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Record identifierdc1a2881-7630-406b-aeaf-129499796b78
Record created2009-03-29
Record modified2016-05-09
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