Cultural Adaptation of Images

Cultural Adaptation of Images

  • Posted by: Camilo
  • Category: Global Learning

As you are developing eLearning images for multiple cultures, one of your primary objectives is to ensure that the content has the same impact on your targeted cultures. You face important decisions in this process: what needs to be changed for a different culture? What can remain the same?

In this article, we will explore answers to these questions, giving you a clear sense of how to best tailor your content to global audiences through effective eLearning localization.

Design Choices in Training Localization

In her article for the Neilson Norman Group, “Trustworthiness in Web Design: 4 Credibility Factors”, Aurora Harley observed that “While there were some interesting cultural nuances, the basic factors used to weigh site trustworthiness were the same, regardless of location and culture.” She further clarifies that “Users’ priorities and methods of evaluation are the same today as they were a few years ago, even though learning itself has vastly evolved.” In other words, most learners will evaluate a site on the same, primary identifiers.

One of the primary identifiers of a site’s trustworthiness, according to Harley, is the overall design of a site. She writes, “the main navigation must be well organized and the site should use an appropriate color scheme and imagery.” But what is considered “appropriate”? This question is especially significant when developing training translation and localization, as content creators need to take into account how this content would be received by various cultures.

There are three primary design considerations to make when creating eLearning content for a global audience: color choice, image choice, and whitespace.

Color Choice in eLearning Localization

Color choice is one significant design factor to consider. For example, while red in the US might mean danger or stop, in China it means festive and joyful. While white in the US and France usually represents purity and virtue, in Japan and China it means death and mourning.


When creating eLearning content, it is best to research color perceptions among targeted cultures.

Avoiding Offensive Imagery in eLearning Localization
Offensive imagery is another important factor to consider when designing eLearning content. For example, a thumbs up symbol can have a positive meaning in the US, but is extremely offensive in the Middle East.

One best practice for localization training is to research the target audience to prevent any offensive imagery.


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