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India

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Overview

Indian culture is rich in manners, behaviors, respects to elders and thought process.
Indian culture is rooted in some deep traditions, even though we have accepted modern lifestyle, our values and ethics are still remain unchanged.

“Atithi Deva Bhaba” is a slogan strictly followed by the Indian culture. This refers that a guest should be treated with the utmost priority and should be provided with all necessary facility.

The Indian society usually follows some strict hierarchical level in terms of both overall society and household. As they have a strict regulation about the do’s and don’ts for a society, a similar list is applied for a family too. Elders in the family are given utmost respect.

Instead of all the geographical, demographical, distances “Unity in Diversity” is the motto of India.

 

Prevalence and state of user research

Usability testing has become increasingly popular in India during the past couple of years, with a lot of companies testing Web sites and devices such as mobile phones, desktops, laptops, and medical equipment. Compared to most western countries, usability testing in India is still in its nascence, with academic institutions providing most practitioners. Since very few moderators are trained in the techniques applicable to usability research, extended briefing sessions and pilot interviews are recommended.

As HCI is in a nascent stage, there does not seem to be any clear schools of thought on the same, however initial influence seems to be more towards anthropology/ethnography side.

 

Testing facilities

Availability and location

Several agencies offering a network of usability labs throughout India

Capabilities

Video streaming allowing for remote observation

 Cost

Similar to that of most developed countries

 

 

Subject recruitment

Agencies

Agencies are available to assist with recruitment. Due to the diversity of the Indian culture, project leaders are advised to provide agencies with great detail regarding their expectations to ensure the identification of appropriate test subjects.

Drop out rates
Drop out rates tend to be in the area of 10-15%. People tend to drop out if their employers are not flexible in giving them time off.

Punctuality
Respondents typically run late. If you want individuals to be on time, you may want to advise them to come 10-15 minutes early. One of the most common reasons given for being late is the traffic.

Special considerations
Agencies can provide guidance regarding dietary needs of participants If serving any food, one should take into consideration that a fair amount of Indians may be vegetarian. There are certain days that Indians fast. Typically days of fasting are Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Normally bottled water and snacks are given to respondents.
 

 

Language and translation considerations

It is imperative to have translations in order for the testing to be successful. Clients may not realize that most participants might only speak the local language but are not able to read it. They can usually read in English, but pronounce as it would be in the local language so the written language becomes Hinglish (Hindi + English), Kinglish (Kannada + English), Binglish (Bengali + English), Tinglish (Tamil + English) and so on. Therefore, a simultaneous translator or a “repeater” should be provided for international usability professionals even if the test sessions are conducted in English, primarily to compensate for heavy accents and to explain any local nuances.Eg. Muchee market = fish market

 

Testing design and protocols

Quantitative vs. Qualitative

Most research quantiatively is conducted by pen and paper today. There are some research agencies which conduct CATI, online studies. Qualitatively Focus Groups is teh most popular way to conduct research. Sometimes Focus groups are conducted in apartments or in 3-5 star hotels. There are a few companies which do provide one way mirror faciltiies to conduct such type of research.

Moderator approach

The moderator will almost always be bilingual as groups tend to shift form one language to the other.

Setting

Typically if you are trying to recruit high profile people, pick up and drop facility is given. Gifts can be given to respondents instead of cash.

 
Technology and connectivity

Similar to comfort using technology (see below).

Think aloud vs retrospective

Indians typically think aloud. When conducting groups it is advisable to stress to them to talk one at a time, otherwise it is hard to understand what is going on. 
 

 

Travel and transportation

Travel to and from this country
Travel to the country is well connected from all major airports of the world. Most international travel from Europe and North America has planes landing late in the night or early in the morning.

 

Travel within this country
Travel within the country is possible by plane. Smaller cities also have airports. The full service carriers are Air India, Kingfisher and Jet Airways. Recently there have also been a fair amount of low cost carriers who have entered the market. Some of the more popular low cost airlines are Indigo, Go Air, SpiceJet, Jet Lite, Jet Konnect, Kingfisher Red. Travel by train is not recommended for foreigners except if they are traveling by 1st class or in an AC carriage which can also be 2nd class. It would be useful to have a local guide, if you are interested in doing some sightseeing which typically can be organized by the hotel you are staying at.

 

Cultural considerations

Diversity

India is a very heterogeneous country with a varied mix of culture, attitudes and beliefs. Because of its diversity, sample sizes tend to be larger than in other more homogeneous countries.

 

Communication style
Indian participants may not talk that much in the beginning. Once they warm up they tend to be more frank and talk more freely. Even if groups are conducted in English there may be some usage of the local language. If you are talking to the less affluent, then the study will almost always be conducted in Hindi or in the local language.

 

Comfort using technology
Indians are savvy when it comes to using phone technology. SMS (Text messaging) is very prevalent in India. Using the net is popular with the younger generation as well as the business class. As far as conducting internet studies in India, this is at a nascent stage as panels are still not very popular in India

Privacy concerns Any study that is conducted has responses as confidential and anonymous. Never is an individual’s name revealed.

 

Holiday, seasonality, and timing considerations

Diwali is the Hindu New Year. This takes place normally in the month of October. Festivities usually last for around 10-15 days. Work is normally slack at this time. Work normally starts between 9-10 and goes on until 5/6 in the evening. However, today most people do not leave work until 7/8 in the evening.

 

Regulatory Issues

Kids below 12 should have consent of the parents before they are interviewed. The parents should be briefed about the subject before the interview takes place. Kids between the ages of 12-15 should have parents approval if they are doing a taste product
 

 

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