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Ramya Mahalingam

How Cultural Relativism Influences Design Decisions

Sunday, March 26 9:00 am – 9:45 am

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Session Summary

Cultural relativism is the understanding that a person’s behaviors and activities should be interpreted in the context of their own culture. We rely heavily on this principle to understand user groups in order to design digital systems for them. Our current models for understanding and quantifying cultural relativism are on the international scale; we see Americans as a group distinct from Japanese, who are again distinct from British. However, this may not be enough. The current socio-political climate in America demonstrates that the cultural influences even within a nation might be misunderstood. This talk will explore some of the current frameworks we have to understand culture, and propose ways to better work them into our design practices.