Prevalence and state of user research
Usability testing is not a common methodology here. However, it may increase as technological infrastructure, such as web systems, gets better.
Availability and Location
Due to a lack of formal usability labs in Turkey, wedding halls, Internet cafés or conference rooms in hotels on busy avenues are often used for testing. Using an agency’s office as a testing venue is not very common.
Usability studies are usually conducted in Istanbul, the industrial and cultural center of Turkey. Apart from Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir are preferred cities as they have the next highest populations behind Istanbul. Ankara is the capital city and is quite metropolitan. Izmir is the third most crowded city in Turkey. It has a strategic seaport and, consequently, is the most important city in the Aegean region
Live web streaming, which is often requested by foreign clients, can be difficult due to low internet bandwidths in Turkey.
Recruiting members of the general population for a centrally located test is fairly easy, but recruiting professionals, such as physicians, can be hard and they often need high incentives.
Language and translation considerations
Turkish is the principal language of Turkey.
The proportion of English speakers is low when compared to the other countries, so it is best for user research studies to be conducted in Turkish.
Testing design and protocols
Technology and connectivity
Internet speed is still quite low in Turkey. The ADSL bandwidth in households and businesses is generally 1024/Kbps. Recently, businesses have started to convert their bandwidth to 4096/Kbps after it became available. However, the speed is still low and of poor quality when compared to Europe.
Turkey has a very dynamic and young population, with around 46% of the population less than 25 years old. This causes society to be highly extroverted socially and technologically, even as the public is generally introverted politically. This is a big surprise for foreigners during test observations. For instance when PS3 was released on the market, there were people lined up in front of the stores since the previous night and i-Phones are very popular nowadays.
Respondents are generally very interested in usability tests compared to other research methods, as they think that they will truly have an impact on the design of the product being tested.
Holiday, seasonality, and timing considerations
Generally speaking, recruitment should not be difficult throughout most of the year, depending on the user profile of course. However, during public holidays, it is unlikely that you will be able to find participants. The dates of religious holidays differ each year because the Islamic calendar used in Turkey is based on the lunar system. The biggest holidays in the Islamic calendar, Ramadan and Eid, usually last for a week and it is very difficult to recruit participants during these times.
We sometimes get questions from our foreign clients about the attire in Turkey. Often, foreigners that come to Turkey still think that Turkish people live like the Ottomans. For instance when the footballer Roberto Carlos came to Turkey, he and his friends took a picture of themselves wearing fezzes. However, the common stereotypes of Turkish men wearing a fez and women in headscarves are somewhat antiquated. The real situation is that usually Turks are wearing similar attire as those in South Eastern Europe, which is surprising for foreigners. Typically, the only people you see wearing a fez in the streets are the tourists. There has, however, recently been a great migration from the rural villages to big cities and, as a result, you see more women wearing headscarves in cities. So now you see a mixture of different people dressed either conservatively or in a more European style in city-centers because of the rural-urban integration. You can see this mixture of style on individual people, as well. Often, young girls that wear headscarves will also be wearing make-up or have on tighter fitting outfits.
While some studies have shown some anti-Americanism amongst the young population, the USA is number one for them in terms of fashion and many young people would like to live there.