I currently have needed to draft a version of a chapter in a resource about culture and instruction called “What are some of the best practices for making sure the intended messages are getting across?”
I am going through some of the literature on localization, etc., and also trying to do my best thinking of my personal experience in this field. It is still incomplete, but for a part of this chapter I have included certain questions and a bullet point list. I will cut and paste them below, and ask for any insights that anyone might have regarding them.
Care enough to sincerely ask these questions:
• What exactly are the objectives we are trying to accomplish?
• How much of my view of these objectives is tied to fixed universal principles, and how much is more flexible and can be customized with various presentations?
• If not customized, is the message presented in a simple enough way adapted for the lowest common denominator among the intended target audience? (For example, is it designed for those in the third world environment?)
• How will we know if we have actually accomplished our objectives or not?
• What systems are in place to monitor if people are receiving the message as intended and are able to do what is requested, and how will we ensure that we have enough resources and energy to adapt and change the material if it is not working?
• In other words, what “differences really make a difference,” and what “similarities really are significant?”
Discussion regarding localization in the literature…
• Need for more feedback – upfront analysis, formative and summative evaluation.
• Need for a system that is friendly towards user participation in the joint-creation of messaging structures; continual feedback and integration of new information.
Some general suggestions:
• Focus should be on the end user, not the product itself.
• Check simple things (e.g. pictures, icons, symbols, colors, symbols, humor) to make sure nothing is distracting or offensive. But do not stop there.
• Look at presentation, logic, motivation, and communication style used.
• Consider contextualization and level of reliance on written text, including level of vocabulary (especially if English is the language of the instruction).
• Consider being as explicit as possible to the end users about what assumptions are being made when creating whatever product.
• Engage in a lot more up-front analysis, rapid prototyping, and formative evaluation.
• Leave money and time for necessary revisions.