While doing a research for mobile phones, I cam across "fashion mobile phones" from
a company called Xelibri (http://www.xelibri.com). They were nice looking phones, until I heard one of the ringtone called "tokyo" from one their phones. Let's just say, ringtone played a melody that western media used to (and still does) depict people from east asian region (china, korea, japan,etc.). Most asians would consider it very racist (or very ignorant). I couldn't believe corporation big as Xelibri could release a product with a feature that could ruin their branding and sales ultimately.
Unfortunately, Xelibri is not alone. I've seen many softwares and products developed in United States that does not pay enough attention to cultural sensitivity in their user interface. Sometimes we (designers working here in U.S.) forget that lot of the software revenue comes from other non-english speaking countries. Then, how can we treat our customers so badly?
I wonder how many of us in the interaction design field take into consideration about designing for "international audience"?? Or is this something beyond our control??
According to statistics, most U.S. students (from grade school to college) are not required to learn any foreign language, thus most cannot speak other languages and don't really know about other cultures. Can this be the cause???