Offshoring and Cultural Differences
December 7, 2004 at 8:19 AM
Gene Smith makes a case for Outsourcing IA/UX... or what he calls "nearshoring." I agree with several of the points made here. I agree that outsourcing is a possibility for the IA/UX arena, however I think that there are several deeper problems to the issue than what has been largely addressed in Gene's post or elsewhere for that matter. One of which is the complexity of the project, another is the cultural differences of the teams. Having worked at a previous job where they offshored work to India and having been in a role where I needed to communicate with those offshore offices, there is a considerable cultural disconnect with the definition of a web site is, how it should function, and how it should look. I see this every year when I judge the handful of sites in the Philippine Web Awards. There is nothing wrong with having a different view of how things ought to be, but you can expect the results to be seasoned with that cultural difference. And that may be what you want, it depends on your audience. But it's not for everyone and all audiences.
Nick, I think you're right about complexity and cultural differences being significant risks. Outsourcing to Canada offers some of the same benefits as offshoring to say India (a cheaper, educated labour market and lower operating costs) but the cultural differences are much less pronounced. The same is probably true of Australia, New Zealand and other countries as well.
I agree, though if your going to offshore you are doing it to save costs. Cost savings are much more signifigant in India and other countries than in Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.