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Reaching a Global Online Audience by Matthew McCool

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Culture

Aside from differences in language, our first encounter with culture is usually music, food, and art. When speaking about travels in South America, people may think of lively Andean music, giant corn or choclo, and soft textiles made from alpaca wool. These cultural characteristics enrich our travels to foreign lands. And although our most vivid memories of South America may be of rugged mountains and alpacas, they have little to do with the deepest dimensions of culture.

Culture Defined

Although each of us has a kind of hardware equipped for learning, it's our software that's often susceptible to misinterpretation. And culture is that software, which is a type of mental programming reinforcing pools of local expertise.[1] An American can relocate to Japan, but will spend the remainder of her life reconciling her native cultural values with Japanese values. The process of assimilation is never easy, mainly because this cultural software is installed at a very early age.

If we use the analogy of computers programs, cultural software can be examined across three technical layers—interface, objects, and code. The interface is the visual contact a user has with a computer program, the actual layout, design, and window into the application. Although an interface is functional, it contains many aesthetic features such as typography, colors, and layout that are not driven by internal logic and rules. The interface is an important design feature of a computer program, but it doesn't ...

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