Best Practices for Inclusive UX research with Hispanic and Latinx Populations

Posted by Sabrina Del Moral on Oct 4, 2023

Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 to October 15, recognizes and celebrates the contributions Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to U.S. society and culture. AnswerLab’s Hispanic and Latinx Employee Resource Group, MezclaLab, is working on building resources and best practices for reaching and conducting research with this population. As we continue into Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re sharing our best practices and tips to help you take the next step in your research journey.

The Why

According to the data provided by Instituto Cervantes, as of 2022, more than 496 million people speak Spanish as their mother tongue (6.3% of the world population). The group of potential users exceeds 595 million (7.5% of the world population). 

Spanish is the second mother tongue in the world by number of speakers, after Mandarin Chinese, and the fourth language in a global count of speakers (native proficiency + limited proficiency + students of Spanish), after English, Mandarin Chinese, and Hindi. 

The Spanish speakers in the world have a combined purchasing power of around 9% of world GDP. If the Hispanic community in the United States were an independent country, its economy would be the seventh largest in the world, ahead of Spain and France. Only in countries where Spanish is the official or majority language, 6.2% of world GDP is generated.

Essentially, if your products are  on the global market, Spanish-speaking users are a huge part of your potential base. But it doesn’t just affect your global scale. In 2060, the United States is predicted to be the second Spanish-speaking country in the world, after Mexico, and 27.5% of the US population will be of Hispanic origin. In time, the US market will continue to grow to meet Spanish-speaking user’s needs, which is we think it’s important to start focusing on this population now. 

Best Practices for Conducting UX Research with Hispanic and Latinx Participants

Over time and through our work across clients and industries, we’ve developed a set of best practices for engaging with Hispanic and Latinx populations in your UX research. Here’s what we’ve learned:

1. Be flexible and ready to adapt on the go. 

Spanish is the main language in 20 countries with about 500 million of native speakers. This covers many different cultures, language nuances, education levels, and socioeconomic statuses. One word can have different meanings in different countries or even within the same country! This brings a lot of complexity and diversity into any research project. Even after conducting deep research, you might have missed some nuances or your findings may not be as you expected.   Keep an open and flexible attitude to adapt as needed, make changes last-minute, and be willing to learn as you go, from recruitment to conducting the fieldwork.   

2. Choose your research methods and tools based on your target audience.

When selecting your research methods, take into account your target audience and their culture. If you are running an international study, you might need to adapt your research methods and the tools you use per country. Depending on internet connectivity, ownership of devices, educational level, cultural norms and preferences you might need to use different methodologies. For example, in situations where many of your participants do not own computers or smartphones or do not have a reliable internet connection, you would want to conduct the research in-person to ensure you can get the feedback you need. 

3. Consider your tone

“Tú” and “usted” are both Spanish words for “you,” but carry different levels of formality and respect. Choosing which tone to use in a session is an important decision. Depending on the country and the participant profile (e.g. consumers vs. doctors), you can use “tú” (informal) or “usted” (formal). Do some research before deciding to go with one or the other, since some could consider it as rude and others as too formal. Also, you can check at the beginning with the participant which tone is preferred. Participants are more willing to be open and enjoy the conversation when they are comfortable. 

4. Be empathic to cultural taboos, as well as ethical and moral conflicts.

Depending on the country and culture, people might not be open to talking about salary, politics, sex, etc. For example, questions about salary are perceived as intrusive and being judged by their level of success. In Spain, educational level and profession are used to measure the social level, while in Mexico, it’s often education and number of bedrooms, full bathrooms, cars/vans, or if they have long-term working internet. Be careful to not offend participants during the screening process. The screener you might use in the U.S. may need to be adapted per country depending on cultural norms. 

5. Understand your target user’s culture and norms.

Do your homework prior to research to understand the context and culture of your target users. Learn about their language, communication styles, traditions, values, and behaviors to adequately prepare for research. For example, families are often much closer in Hispanic communities, so expect more discussion about their families. You should also be aware of holidays to not plan research around, for example, Día de los Muertos. Use the appropriate language, symbols, gestures, and avoid asking sensitive or offensive questions.

6. Translate your test materials with care.

Some words have different meanings per country, so make sure to test your materials in advance with a native speaker from the country or region you’re conducting research in. Translation can be tricky, so a test run can be a critical step in the process! Providing localized materials will help participants understand, follow, and enjoy the conversation easily while also building confidence and trust with the researcher. 

7. Enjoy the conversation.

Many Spanish speakers love to talk, share personal stories, and create their own monologue. Use your judgment on the value of the information being provided and your session length. Try to cover the key areas on the discussion guide while listening to their stories to learn more about them, their culture, and behaviors. Be empathetic, polite and friendly if you need to cut them off or change the subject. 

8. Ensure your moderator is a native Spanish speaker.

Your moderator should be native Spanish speaker or at the very least, fluent enough to get all the information required. At the beginning of the interview, try to find some common background so your participant feels more comfortable. I usually mention my origin country to help make small talk. I also usually let them know that I might use slightly different words than in their country and that I might not understand them fully. This brings more confidence to participants to be open and to express additional cultural comments while bridging the cultural gap. 

Extra Tip: Inclusivity requires intersectionality.

When recruiting, it’s best to be as inclusive as possible to ensure your research represents the full population. This can include being inclusive of race, gender, sexual orientation, social class, and more. 

For example, let’s say you would like to conduct research on Spanish-speaking individuals in California. You will obviously need to recruit based on the languages they speak. But it’s also important to note that their language is just one part of their identity. Other aspects of their identity, like their immigration status or gender expression, could impact their experience. For example, their perceptions on the content you’re testing will bring up separate issues depending on if they’re a citizen, resident, or undocumented immigrant. It may also bring up additional nuances if you include a mix of transgender, cisgender, gender fluid, and more non-binary gender expressions. This type of research can help you gain more impactful insights and identify future research initiatives and objectives. 

To learn more about inclusive recruiting, check out our Guide to Inclusive Recruiting.


Inclusive research is a critical part of your UX research strategy, from conducting experience gap studies with specific populations or refining your participant recruiting and research ops strategies to ensure you’re getting a diverse mix of participants in every study.

At AnswerLab, we believe this is a vital step in creating experiences people love. Learn more about inclusive research at AnswerLab.

Written by

Sabrina Del Moral

Sabrina Del Moral is a UX Researcher at AnswerLab with over 8 years of market and UX research experience in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. She has collaborated with clients across various industries, including social media, entertainment, financial services, and emerging technologies. She is passionate about using empathy to drive compassionate action through her research. Sabrina is currently Co-Chairperson of RainbowLab, an employee-led resource group for LGBTQIA+ AnswerLabbers, and leads MezclaLab, an employee-led resource group for Hispanic and Latinx AnswerLabbers.

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