Summary: When a multinational company produces a localized country site, usability is often lost. Local advertising agencies design good-looking sites that don’t communicate.
Something was gnawing at me as I observed our last several rounds of international usability studies. Many of the websites we tested around the world had uncommonly low quality — not unlike what we saw in the United States during the 1990s.
Reflecting on this observation, I realized that the worst sites were usually not the truly local sites designed by local businesses or government agencies. Instead, the offenders often came from huge multinational corporations that fielded country sites with horrible usability.