[CFP] Globalizing User Experience: Strategies, Practices, and Techniques for Culturally Sensitive Design

The STC Logo, published as part of "[CFP] Globalizing User Experience: Strategies, Practices, and Techniques for Culturally Sensitive Design"Technical Communication, the journal of the Society for Technical Communication (STC), is soliciting article proposals for an upcoming special issue that will examine how technical communicators can design for new kinds of user experiences in international, cross-cultural, and multicultural contexts. This special issue will be published in February of 2017, and the guest editors are myself and Huatong Sun.

Special Issue Description

Cultural diversity has been embraced as a core value by many companies in today’s increasingly globalized and multicultural workplace. Meanwhile, the design, implementation, evaluation, distribution, and consumption of information products now happen more often on a global level. While a majority of companies are not designing global-ready products from the beginning, the most successful products usually traverse the local in favor of a global user base. Thus, global UX design is a common part of the work lives of many technical communicators (Quesenbery & Szuc, 2012; Schumacher, 2010; Sun, 2012).

At a time when the roles of technical communicator and user experience designer have begun to blur in productive ways (Redish, 2010; Redish & Barnum, 2011), technical communicators have been making valuable contributions to the development of the UX field by bringing theory, research, and design techniques. At the same time, UX is becoming an essential skill set for technical communicators in a variety of industries.

Indeed, today’s technical communicators are designers who employ information and communication technologies (ICTs) to transform our workplaces, our communities, and our society. As technology design moves towards more socially- and ethically-oriented approaches, technical communicators are playing an important role in cultivating cultural humility (Tervalon & Murray-Garcia, 1998). This includes accounting for cultural differences and building a more inclusive and diverse workplace in an increasingly global society with our rhetorical expertise and empathy toward users.

The trends described above are increasingly affecting the work we do as industry practitioners, academic researchers, university and college educators, and independent entrepreneurs in technical communication. It is time for us to reflect on our endeavors so far, to examine our surrounding cultures and structures at a new stage of globalization, and to develop better strategies, practices, and techniques to design more culturally appropriate information products in order to empower our users globally and locally.

Possible Topics for This Special Issue

The guest editors invite proposals for papers on applied research or theory, case histories/studies, tutorials, and/or annotated bibliographies that address issues such as the following:

  • How should technical communicators attend to issues related to user experience within the organizations they work in, and around the products they help deploy, in terms of collaboration, communication, complexity, and change (Redish, 2010)?
  • What can technical communicators teach their UX colleagues about cross-cultural and international communication and product deployment?
  • How should technical communicators work as user advocates to develop more culturally sensitive design and research methods to address the digital divide between the global north and south?
  • What expertise do technical communicators bring to informing innovative practices of work and design to develop a more diverse workplace and a more heterogeneous society?
  • How do political, legal, economic, and/or technological issues affect the ways that information products are deployed within local cultures?
  • How do cultural differences relating to intellectual property and copyright affect technical communication practices – particularly practices involving globally distributed teams?

Submission Guidelines

Proposals should be no more than 400 words in length. All proposals should include submitter name, affiliation, and email address as well as a working title for the proposed article.

Production Schedule

The schedule for the special issue is as follows:
April 15, 2016 – 400-word proposals due
May 15, 2016 – Guest editors return proposal decisions to submitters
August 15, 2016 – Draft manuscripts of accepted proposals due
November 15, 2016 – Final manuscripts due
February 1, 2017 – Publication date of special issue

Contact Information

Completed proposals or questions about either proposal topics or this special issue should be sent to Guiseppe Getto and Huatong Sun at tc.special.issue@gmail.com.

References:
Quesenbery, W. & Szuc, D. (2012) Global UX: Design & research in a connected world. Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann.
Redish, J. (2010). Technical communication & usability: Intertwined strands and mutual influences. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 53(3), 191-201.
Redish, J. & Barnum, C. (2011). Overlap, influence, intertwining: The interplay of UX and technical communication. Journal of Usability Studies, 6(3), 90-101.
Schumacher, R. (ed). (2010). Handbook of global user research. Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann.
Sun, H. (2012). Cross-cultural technology design: Creating culture-sensitive technology for local users. New York: Oxford University Press.
Tervalon, M., & Murray-Garcia, J. (1998). Cultural humility versus cultural competence: A critical distinction in defining physician training outcomes in multicultural education. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Undeserved, 9(2), 117-125.