A recent 4-month stay in Barcelona has made me think a lot about designing for different markets. Different cultures demand different designs and it is not rare to find that some things are done completely different in Europe than in America. However, even though designs are different, they each make perfect sense for the culture they were designed for.
A place where a lot of these cultural differences become evident are theme parks. I knew from a visit to Disneyland Paris some years back that European theme parks were not the same as American ones – and I commented that to my friends on our way to Port Aventura, which is about an hour drive from Barcelona.
Some of the things that stand out the most. You’re not supposed to smoke in most of the park’s spaces, though everyone still does and nobody cares. They sell beer to guests and don’t ask for ID if you look like you’re old enough. Staff is extremely relaxed and not too concerned with everyone staying properly in line or standing exactly where they should.
Oh, and the Cookie Monster does not hesitate to pose with a beer glass.