Kampuri’s article is published in “under development” forum of interactions magazine. Under development focuses on hci and interaction design possibilities in developing communities. Thus the article is not a strict academic research report but something between travel story, essay, and research report.
Kampuri describes her experiences of doing user research in Tanzania. The first part of the article gives a nice summary of problems of conducting user research in unfamiliar culture and what kinds of problems e.g. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions model has when one tries to apply it to design. Some of the Hofstede critique is quite superficial. For example Kampuri tries to utilize cultural dimensions to plan user research and interpret individual incidents she has observed. Both of these ideas are easy to criticize. Cultural dimension depict cultures in quite abstract level, of course knowing that one culture has different power distance than other is not enough to guide designing communication solutions or to plan user research.
To overcome the problems of cultural dimensions model, Kampuri took an ethnographic, value-centered approach in her research. The second part of the article explains how field work in foreign culture takes time and there is a need for combining several techniques to avoid risks. In addition Kampuri shortly describes a technique called value map, which she developed for mapping the cultural values of the target users. Value map seems to be a nice tool and it would be interesting to read a more throughout description of it. The short description in the article just links it to Cocktons designing for worth approach, but does not actually give a detailed enough description to be repeatable or to allow almost any kind of experimenting.
Minna Kamppuri. 2012. Because deep down, we are not the same: values in cross-cultural design. interactions 19, 2 (March 2012), 65-68. DOI=10.1145/2090150.2090166 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2090150.2090166