This element of website optimisation is all about the visibility of cultural aspects. You are now thinking about website design and frontend appearance? That's correct.
But there is more to it!
Adding Cultural Emotion
CTA button colour
The all important question about how to design your CTA buttons is always one of the first elements, digital marketers and user experience specialists pay attention to. However, in case you are a newbie to conversion rate optimistaion - CTA means Call to action and refers to any kind of buttons that you would like a customer to click or tab in order to move on to the next step in the customer journey. These buttons could vary from a "Sign-up" button to "Click to open video" or a "Place your order" button.
This is where you go wrong
When you chose your colour for your CTAs do you simply look at which colour would fit in with your website design? Or are you a strong believer in green CTA buttons because other sources have told you that green is the colour that indicates "GO"?
What if there are specific colours that mean a lot more to people than just a signal to proceed?
Top Tip - Do Your Color Psychology Research
Let's just think of the Dutch for a moment. You might think, oh that's easy, just use the colours of the flag (red, white, blue). Really? We advise you to do some more cultural research first!
Have you ever seen the football worldcup and seen a sea of fans dressed in orange? These are the Dutch who are proud of their Royal Family which rain as the House of Orange. This family tradition has led to an invisible power of the colour orange for the Dutch culture. And who knows, this underlying power might come in handy as the last incentive you need for your customers to convert on your website.
Let's look at another example at the other end of the globe. The country I am referring to is the people's republic of China. Have you ever been to a Chinese New Year Celebration or a Dragon Boat Festival? If yes, you will know that red is the dominating colour, be it in a family house, on the street or in local retail shops. The same applies to a Chinese wedding which traditionally has been celebrated in red dresses with golden accessories.
We are convinced that using a red colour with wording in gold can make a hug difference in building up the trust with your Chinese customers. A blue CTA button for example would not mean a thing for most of Chinese visitors to your website and would therefore not be culturally optimised.
CTA buttons are however not the only element which can be optimised to address cultural emotion in visible elements.
Images and Graphics
Without images and graphics, your website would be pure text without any kind of attractive focus points for your visitors' eyes. In order to connect to your audience digitally a website must be full of interesting visual elements to keep your website visitors engaged and reduce bounce rates.
The importance of visual perception is not just a principle of the 21st century, it has first been marked in 1872 by the famous artist Hans Markart in his painting "The Five Senses", see illustrations below.
To understand the impact of optical elements on the human brain, you just have to imagine yourself travelling to another country. Especially if you can't understand the language it is the visual interpretation that makes you see differences in culture. A Westerner travelling to Asia will notice the wealth of colors, differences in architecture, dissimilarity in landscape just as much as an Asian travelling to the West.
This is where you go wrong
When website designers work on their design concepts for a website, they are often in their designer world which is full of cultural blindspots. Images are chosen based on their fit into the design. This is best explained in the following example:
Let's assume we are selling garden products online. The section where customers require customer services needs an eye catching image of a person with headphones to take your call. Your designer picks a bright image featuring a business man in a suit that matches the colour of your logo. Really? That's like going into a car dealership being welcomed by a guy in tracksuit bottoms.
I am sure you can think of your own examples now.
Target Audience - The foundation for success
When adding images and graphics to your website, don't just choose any image that is available on the trillions of online image data bases. Sit down with your designers and explain the target audience. Give them an introduction to the culture of the target visitors and optimise every single visual element based on the target market, even if this means that chosing an image can take days of research and more days to pick the right image.