Showcase Of Web Design In China: From Imitation To Innovation

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China is a country with five thousand years of civilization. It is a multi-national entity extending over a large area of East Asia. China’s cultural influence extends across the continent, with customs and writing systems adopted by neighboring countries including Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

China has gone through numerous ups and downs and twists and turns, from wealthy and prosperous (as during the Tang Dynasty back in 618–907 AD) to powerless and colonized (as during the Qing Dynasty, just around 100 years ago). Now China is reopening its door to the world again, embracing the latest trends, concepts and technologies, the World Wide Web being one of them.

In our interviews with six well-known designers in China, each of whom wears different hats, the recurring theme was that China’s Web design industry is rising like a spiral from imitation to innovation and user-centered design.

Dongpai611
Chinese Web Design: Dongpai2

State Of Affairs

The designers we interviewed had much to say about the direction of Web design in China, the status quo and trends. The individuals are spread out across four major cities in China, and they are:

  • Yu Guo3
    Former chief designer at Baidu, China’s largest search engine.
    Current city: Beijing.
  • Whitecrow Zhu4
    Co-founder of UCDChina5, and principal product experience designer at Alipay, a subsidiary of Alibaba.
    Current city: Hangzhou.
  • Junchen Wu6
    Co-founder of UCDChina, and director of products at Tuniu Travel.
    Current city: Nanjing.
  • Lytous Zhou7
    Visual designer, UI lead at CK Telecom and author of the book UI Evolutionism8.
    Current city: Shenzhen.
  • John Woo9
    Lead of the user-experience team at Google China.
    Current city: Beijing.
  • Rex Song10
    Freelance information architect; co-founder of UCDChina.
    Current city: Beijing.

The interviews were conducted via phone, Skype and Google Talk. Questions were sent to the designers before the interviews to give them context, but the actual interviews were semi-structured. Being interested in the scope of their thoughts, we asked them not to limit their answers to just “Web design.” The designers were told that Web design here refers not only to visuals, CSS and the front end, but also the back end, infrastructure, design rationale, cultural elements, user-experience design and research and so on. We wanted the designers to express their thoughts as openly and as creatively as they wanted to.

Moliyo MFM11
MFM Moliyo12, a game website.

Question: How do you see the status quo of Web design in China?

Yu Guo: Almost 70% of Chinese Internet users are under 30 years of age. They are young, open, and they adapt to new things quickly. They like to play games online and enjoy looking for ways to entertain themselves online. So, you may see visually attractive elements on many Chinese websites, the purpose of which is to cater to this group of users.

Whitecrow Zhu: About two years ago, we witnessed a huge trend where designers in China were imitating Korean websites in their use of Flash. Flashy and colorful design was once the trend. However, with the introduction of Web 2.0, websites in China are improving. Users are exploring the content as opposed to exploring solely the visuals. Visuals alone do not satisfy Chinese users any more. They are looking for useful and helpful content, and they want to contribute to the websites as well.

Junchen Wu: It’s on an upward trend, getting better and better, but like a spiral. In terms of Web knowledge and techniques, Chinese designers are on par with designers in Western countries, but they have not reached the point of fully utilizing that body of knowledge. An excellent example of this is user research. Many designers know the concept, but they hardly include it in their design practices. They know of usability testing, but they rarely do it.

Lytous Zhou: Well, two points. One, limited budgets are very common in China’s Web design market. As a result, Web design ends up with overwhelming visuals to attract attention. It might be flashy and pretty at first sight, but the information architecture might not be well planned, and usability can be poor. Regarding the second point, Chinese Web design tends to be very localized, as it should be.

Midea13
Chinese web design: Midea Microwave Oven14

For example, Alipay, a byproduct of Taobao, became a successful standalone product because it took into consideration the purchasing behavior and psychology of Chinese users. China is a big country, and some websites are successful because they cater to particular geographical locations. The other side of the coin is that Chinese Web design is not quite international yet. It’s such a huge market and can sustain itself without even reaching out to the international market. You will see that UCDChina.com and a lot of other Chinese websites don’t have English versions, even in their navigation.

John Woo: China has not formed one distinctive Web design style yet, because the country is big, and Chinese users are complicated in many ways. The impression of foreigners of Chinese Web design might be that it is busy and flashy, but I take it as practical. When Flash design was the fashion, many designers (or their bosses) wanted to use Flash to make their Web pages attractive. When SNS was booming in the US, it was soon introduced in China, together with the Facebook and Twitter design styles. When it’s practical and useful, many Chinese people will just borrow the concept and develop it further. Baidu, QQ and Taobao won business and respect this way.

Rex Song: China has a large population, and the saying “the more, the merrier” applies to its Web design. You will see some Web pages that are busy and cluttered, with designers or stakeholders trying to put everything on the page. The other thing is that, currently, the primary motivation to go online for the average web surfer in China is entertainment. So, Web designers in China tend to make their websites play-ish, SNS-ish and visually attractive, as we saw with the popular trend back in 2004 to imitate Korean Flash websites.

Shoebox2715
Shoebox2616

Chinese Web Design In A Nutshell

So, do you now have a rough idea of the status quo in Chinese Web design? Although our interviewees tended not to reduce Web design in China to certain patterns, we summarized a few bullet points based on the topics most frequently mentioned in our interviews.

1. Flash-Heaviness: Born of Imitation

Flash design has been a source of constant debates for years. The fact that optimizing Flash objects for search engines can be difficult is a major turn-off for some designers.

However, Flash was called out, and it’s the most frequently mentioned keyword in our interviews. Back in 2004, when Korean websites were all in Flash, Chinese designers and business owners considered Flash the “fashion.” Rex Song mentioned that when this trend was extremely popular a few years ago, you could even download ready-made Korean-style Flash ZIP files from online stores for little money, so that you could do it quick without spending a lot of effort.

Google is renowned for its focus on simplicity. But take a peek at the nuances that distinguish Google China17 and Google US18:

Google CN US

The design of Google China is a bit more vivid than that of Google US, with a hint of animation added to the former to enhance the richness of Google search. By the way, this concept was first implemented on Google Korea and Japan, although both of them have since reverted to a more static interface.

Although Flash implementation began as imitation, it is now increasingly featured in the portfolios of design studios and freelancers, on websites to launch new products and for products geared to the younger generation.

Shanghai Vive19 is an old Shanghai cosmetics company that is trying to rebrand and attract high-end consumers. Its branding uses Flash heavily, depicting an elegant and high-class life.

Shanghai Vive20

Cool Bear Hi21, one of the product lines of Great Wall Motor, has a Flash website to promote its new car release.

Cool Bear22

To accommodate low-speed Internet connections, Cool Bear Hi does a good job of showing the progress of the loading Flash.

Cool Bear Progress23

The text below the car on Cool Bear Hi changes as more Flash loads. With the chipper text there to assuage visitors, the loading Flash doesn’t seem that boring to watch. Above are a few screenshots we took, and below is what it says at various points in the loading process:

  • At 4%: “Choose Cool Bear Hi. Share your happiness.”
  • At 22%: “Wear a smiling face every day, and say Hi to everybody.”
  • At 41%: “Cool Bear is impatient, ‘Why hasn’t anybody taken me home!’”
  • At 70%: “Book a test-drive appoint. Get your special gift and reward points.”

Mian Dian Fang24, a ready-to-serve breakfast company, also uses heavily Flash on its corporate website. The animation gives the steam bread and “baozi” a human touch, having them do morning exercises and other activities. The metaphor persuades customers that the company serves a healthy breakfast.

Mian Dian Fang25

Let’s look at how Mian Dian Fang shows its loading progress:

Mian Dian Fang progress

The loading animation parodies the yeast process: the flour gets bigger and bigger, until you can see a full-blown website.

Shoebox2616, a shoe brand for the younger generation in China, uses Flash across the whole website to show its grasp of fashion. In addition, the sketched art on the home page and old brown newspaper color for the background set up Shoebox’s philosophy: taste is an attitude of life; start with the simple; fashion is a kind of sport; start with Shoebox.

Shoebox2715

Lenovo Mobile O128 takes advantage of personalities and embeds their stories in Flash to present the features, functionality and usefulness of its new product, Lenovo O1.

Lenovo Mobile O129

Artlans30, an interactive design studio, also uses Flash, especially for its menu buttons, the call to action and the language switcher. Design studios may not want to use Flash all over their portfolios, but rather in a few key places to show their skill at using Flash for clients.

Artlans31

Idea Design32, a design studio that uses Flash in full swing.

Idea Design33

2. Designing for Entertainment

We really liked our one-on-one interviews because not only did we hear different stories from different people, but we also heard certain other stories from everyone. For example, Whitecrow, Lytous, Yu, and Rex all talked about the “entertainmentalization” of Chinese Web design. “When a social networking website comes to China, it must become a game website,” said Whitecrow.

A case in point is a feature provided by Kaixin.com34 (Kaixin means “happy”), which recently spurred a social phenomenon in China: “Stealing vegetables.” Kaixin pretty much copied Facebook’s navigation and user interaction. But it’s different in what it allows you to do: set up your “Happy Farm,” build your house, grow your own vegetables and then steal your friends’ vegetables when they are ready to be harvested. Some dedicated players even made Excel spreadsheets to track their friends’ harvest season in order to expedite stealing. It’s like any other video game but embedded on a social networking website, allowing you to play with a wider variety of users. “Stealing vegetables” became so popular that it drew the attention of censors from China’s Ministry of Culture. Under pressure from the Ministry, the game is now called “Picking vegetables,” a less offensive euphemism for mainstream Chinese culture. Online players still prefer the more accurate name.

Happy Farm
Kaixin

Happy Ranch
Kaixin

Happy Orchard
Kaixin

The application was recently added to Facebook, but it is only for Chinese-speaking users at this time.

Lipton Milk Tea35 features a “Hug Relay” game that you can play right on the website. Hug your friends by validating your account on Renren36, another social networking website in China, and gain hug points.

Lipton37

Once you accumulate enough hug points, you can shop on the online store and purchase gifts, an incentive to maintain momentum in the game:

Lipton Superstore

Like Lipton, M&M China38 also uses an online “relay” game to engage visitors to its website.

M&M39

I Love G340, a website from China Mobile to promote the 3G network and 3G cell phones, presents an animated Flash questionnaire for users to play around with.

I Love G341

After you have answered a series of questions such as, “How would you kill time on a train?” and “How would you cross the ocean?” the system analyzes your personality and recommends 3G cell phones to match you:

I Love 3G

3. Designing for Clicks

Unlike Latin and Germanic languages, Chinese is rooted in hieroglyphic characters. Typing in Chinese on an alphabet-based keyboard can be slow, especially for middle-aged and older users. So, you will see that some website user interfaces are extremely busy: text and image links everywhere—”the more, the merrier,” as Rex Song points out. These websites are designed for clicking, as opposed to searching (although keyword search is an essential component of any information-rich website).

Yoho42, an online shopping platform for the younger generation, takes advantage of every sliver of real estate on the page to promote its products. Yes, a search box is in the top-right for you to search, but with all of these images and hyperlinks, it’s more enticing to just click, click, click.

Yoho43

It’s the same with China Visual44, a visual design resource portal. The home page presents all sections of the website as text and image links, giving you a quick peek of the content.

China Visual45

NetEase46 (aka 163.com), one of the largest news portals in China, takes full advantage of the Web reading pattern of Chinese users: i.e. clicking.

NetEase47

Above is a screenshot of NetEase’s home page. The Chinese lunar New Year was approaching when we were writing this article, and you can see that this website uses red, a color symbolic of festivals, for the background. The page is filled with headlines of news and featured articles as well as ad spots. You can perform a search at the top of the page, but by scanning the entire page, you get a sense of what’s happening today. And if you’re interested in any of the headlines, just click—that easy.

All that said, many websites are working to unclutter their UI, increase the font size and line spacing and enhance readability. “Sina.com48, if you have been paying attention to its redesigns all the way back to the late 1990s, is doing better and better at information design,” said John Woo, lead of the Google China UX team.

4. Designing for Culture

When asked, “Can the world learn anything from Chinese web design?” Lytous Zhou answered without hesitation: “Culture. The Chinese respect Dao49, and we have our own set of values and mores. Websites targeted to the Chinese market should follow the online habits and aesthetics of Chinese users. For example, cultural symbols, calligraphic elements and festivities: all of these could be integrated into a Web design if applicable. A lake may just be a lake, but associating a fairy tale with a lake makes it prettier.”

True, if you add a fairy tale and human touch to a lake, the user’s perception of it would change.

Pizza Hut China50, which is an example I like to use every time I explain cultural differences, uses Chinese elements heavily all over its website: in the color scheme and family theme. Warm reds and yellows are colors symbolic of festivity in China, and the family dinner is highly regarded in Chinese society.

Pizza Hut51

By comparison, Pizza Hut US52 highlights fast food and online ordering on its home page. Red is also Pizza Hut US’ theme color, but it’s more solid, darker and cooler than the warm red on the Chinese website.

Pizza Hut US53

Same with McDonald’s China54 website, where one main menu is dedicated to the “Happy Family Party.”

McDonald's55

Tong2 Studio56 has a unique look and feel with this traditional Chinese floral pattern on its background.

Tong257

Six Station58, whose home page is a Chinese ink and watercolor painting in Flash, opens its creative and innovative mind to clients.

Six Station59

Dongpai Design60, an interactive design studio, has an interesting mini-website that borrows from the “Three Kingdom” story (a period of Chinese history) to communicate its design philosophy and values.

Dongpai611

While John Woo points out that incorporating national and cultural elements into design is not limited to the Web, he acknowledges the practicality of Chinese Web design—that designers will borrow anything that might be useful to them or their users.

Want An Even Bigger Showcase?

Not enough visuals for you? Here is a whole bunch of more websites to give you a better sense of design in China.

UI Seven62
A design studio.

63

IDT64
A personal showcase that records the designer’s 12-year love affair with his girlfriend (now wife) and his own professional growth as the Web evolved during those years.

IDT65

Youguan Cookies66
Also uses Flash animation to promote its product line.

YouGuan Cookies67

Xin Hongru68
An interactive design agency that uses both Chinese elements and Flash to showcase its work.

Xin Hongru69

Thinkpad Edge70
A new product line of the Thinkpad laptop.

Thinkpad Edige71

Moliyo MFM72
An online video game website, designed for clicks.

Moliyo MFM73

361 Sports74
Borrows the theme of the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games for its home page.

361 Sports75

Dove Chocolate China76
Uses Chinese elements and the lunar New Year to decorate its home page.

Dove China77

BangbangWa78
A snack company whose website is rich in games and Flash.

BangbangWa79

Brain Town80
A personal portfolio website.

Brain Town81

ShuXia82
A platform to showcase the creations of members.

Shuxia83

Jossy Jo84
A clothing brand.

Jossy Jo85

Apsou86
An interactive consulting agency.

Apsou87

Mole Lele88
A cartoonist’s personal website.

Mole Lele89

WEBE7 Enterprise Network Interactive90
A portfolio website.

WEBE791

Sanshen Toscana92
A real-estate website that relies heavily on Flash.

Sansheng93

Wotoon Design94
A design agency.

Wotoon95

Shaopan Film Studio96

Shaopan Film Studio97

X’mas Tree Workshop98
A mini games website where you can create your own Christmas tree and send it as an e-card to your friends.

X'mas tree99

The GF Space100
A design agency.

GF Space101

HAHA DIY102
A neat website for DIY home ornaments.

Haha DIY103

Yimei Cross Stitch104

Yimei105

Happy Basket106
Designed for clicks.

Happy Basket107

WuHansoufang108
A pretty cool Flash website.

WuHansoufang109

Chateau Junding110
A domestic wine brand.

Junding111

TIIDA112
Incorporates a family theme into its Flash design.

TIIDA113

Magic Workshop114
A kids clothing company, using Flash-animated cartoons to capture the company’s culture.

Magic Factory115

JJ Ying116
A neat personal portfolio website.

JJ Ying117

Beijing Orange Advertising118
A creative showcase website.

Beijing Orange119

Nescafe120
Another website rich in both games and Flash.

Nescafe121

Yee Chino122
A restaurant.

Yee Chino123

Gold Chino124
The sister restaurant of Yee Chino.

Gold Chino125

Guoguo Diary126
A fairly simple but creative personal website.

Guoguo127

Rancho Santa Fe128
A real-estate developer in Shanghai.

Rancho Santa Fe129

Challenges, Opportunities, Trends

Challenges

When it comes to challenges in the Internet industry, one of the frustrations mentioned by Whitecrow, Junchen, Rex and Lytous is government censorship. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr are all blocked in China because some of their content is considered “inappropriate.” And for compliance purposes, “Sina Microblogging has a team of humans whose job is to censor content, in addition to machine filtering,” says Whitecrow.

The international debate on how free and open the Internet should be is ongoing (see Nussbaum130, 2010), and there is still no universal “policy” for the Internet. But without an open environment, China could be impeded from learning from and catching up to other countries.

Still, every coin has two sides. “It limits your freedom,” says Whitecrow Zhu, “but meanwhile, it has a positive effect on UI design and content presentation. There is less room for gimmicks. It forces you to concentrate on useful content and how to present your content.”

The other challenge mentioned by Junchen Wu and Rex Song was the lack of quality educational programs: “Vocational schools might teach you how to use Photoshop and Dreamweaver and how to code in HTML, CSS and JavaScript, but they may not teach you design thinking and the logic behind design. The World Wide Web is still young, and at higher-education institutions we have not seen any Information Architecture or User Experience Design degrees yet.”

Our interviews did point to the fact that designers in China have not yet taken full advantage of rigorous research methodologies. Take what Junchen Wu said about the status quo of Chinese Web design: “Many designers know the concept, but they hardly include it in their design practices. They know of usability testing, but they rarely do it.”

And in response to the question, “How do you convince stakeholders that a design is right?” Rex Song brought up the notion of “guanxi131” and trust, and he thought the concept A/B and multivariate testing was “Western” and might yield a “low ROI.”

This is understandable on the one hand, because China has a long history of interpretive reasoning, be it Confucianism or Daoism. On the other hand, Chinese Web designers in general have a long way to go in using hard data to back up their design choices.

One might argue that the designer’s job is simply to design, the fact is that you need reasons to support your decisions that affect layout, color scheme, positioning of elements, user interaction and so on. Only “25% of the designers who relied on their personal opinion were right. A research study conducted by the Neilsen Norman Group132 (2009) concluded that “you’d be better off tossing a coin than asking advice of these people.” This cannot, of course, be said of everyone, but it speaks to the importance of data.

Opportunities and Trends

We were inspired in all six interviews by the discussion of the opportunities and trends in Chinese Web design.

Question: What trends do you foresee in Chinese Web design?

Yu Guo: E-commerce, I would say. Do you know Taobao? Some of my female colleagues have bought soy sauce, pickles and snacks that I’ve never heard of at Taobao. They love it. This is the market in China, and there is demand. I think every company should take advantage of it.

[Authors’ note: Taobao is one of the largest shopping platforms in China to connect buyers and sellers of “baobei” (treasures). Out of curiosity, we searched for chocolate on Taobao and found those seasonal truffles that are sold around Thanksgiving and Christmas exclusively at Costco, the largest warehouse membership club in the US.]

Taobao Truffes133

Whitecrow Zhu: I think Web design in China is moving towards integrating more and more user-generated content. Douban146134, an online book and movie club, is a good example. Like YouTube, the majority of the website’s content is user-generated, and it has been pretty successful. Douban existed before YouTube, by the way.

Douban135

Several years down the line, e-commerce in China will be in full bloom. E-commerce is not tied to any ideology other than simple economics and consumer interest. It has less of a chance of being censored, and people demand it.

Junchen Wu: Creating more value for customers. Listen to what they say, look at what they do, do what they do and think what they think. My belief is that Chinese Web design is getting better and better, in an upward-spiral trend.

Lytous Zhou: Focus on users and your service. I don’t think we’ll see anything unnecessarily extravagant, like crammed content and excessive visuals. Features, functionality, industry standards and meeting customer needs are the trends, I believe. And you’ve got to think outside of the box.

John Woo: Functional, useful and usable. Making websites flashy, with lots of reds and greens, is absolutely unnecessary. Focus on user essentials and user needs. Though not a website, the Tianyu (KTouch) cell phone is very popular in China these days, and I bought six for my family: four with big font display and handwriting input for my parents and parents-in-law, one with 3x optical zoom and an 800 MP camera, and one that looks like lady’s powder case (see picture below). Tianyu was a “Shanzhai” manufacturer but is now a registered company with a pretty good share of China’s cell phone market. Why? It focuses on user essentials and basic needs. Websites are no different.

[Authors’ note: “Shanzhai” literally means “villages in the mountain with stockade houses.” The use of shanzhai became popular with the outstanding sales of shanzhai cell phones. Although shanzhai companies do not use branding as a marketing strategy, they are known for their flexibility in design to meet specific market needs. Shanzhai cell phones can be sold at prices much lower than normal cell phones. (Wikipedia136, 2010)]

Tianyu

Rex Song: In terms of online trends, we will develop our own Web design style using the backdrop of Chinese culture. Formatting-wise, we will be in line with the mainstream world, creating more user-centered designs and offering a better user experience.

Wrapping Up

The Web in China is young, and Chinese designers are playing catch-up. Despite the challenges, we see even more opportunities: smart people, a big market, increasing demand, flexibility and innovative and user-centered design thinking.

On many Chinese websites, we’ve already seen the “upward-spiral trend from imitation to innovation and user-centered design”. Innovation in China is a constant goal. It is being pushed in President Hu Jingtao’s State speech all the way down to classroom curricula. Says Bruce Nussbaum137 (2009), “To its credit, China has made design a national priority and is pouring billions of yuan into design education.”

Through our interviews, we also collected some resources that our designers would like to share with Smashing Magazine readers (including those in languages other than Chinese).

Events

  • UCDChina Book Club Meetups138
    These monthly meet-ups occur on the third Sunday of every month in China’s eight major cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Xiamen and Chengdu. They set a topic for each month, and club members can borrow the books from UCDChina library and return them at the next meet-up.
  • UCDChina Annual Conference139
    The first conference was held in Guangzhou in 2009. It’s free to attend.
  • UPA China Annual Conference140
    The UPA China Chapter conference, different from UPA International. The conference is usually held on “Usability Day” every year.
  • Designer and Developer Front End Technology Forum141
    A biannual forum for designers and front-end developers in China.

Books, Blogs and Online Resources

Your Voice Is Important to Us

What do you think about the Web design in China? We couldn’t cover everything in one post, and we are sure we have missed some perspectives. We look forward to hearing your feedback!

Related Posts

You may be interested in the following related posts:

About the Authors

This guest post was written by Kejun Xu and Hendry Lee.

Kejun Xu164, an information architect devoted to user experience research; a user researcher dedicated to user-centered design; a usability engineer engaged in making the Web easier to use; and a translator and interpreter who loves inter-cultural communication and bridging people together. She designs for her users, making their lives easier and hassle-free. She blogs once a while, about UXRnD165, to record the auto parts and loose diamonds, in case she forgets.

Henry Lee helps people overcome strategic and technical challenges in starting and growing their blogs. Read more of his blog tips166, including website building with blog software, strategies, hosting, social media, Web writing, design and more. You can also hire his team at Marketing Loop167 to build a Web presence for your business or personal website. Stay in touch with Hendry by following him on Twitter168.

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Footnotes

  1. 1 http://doopaa.cn/doopaademo/doopaashanguo/
  2. 2 http://doopaa.cn/doopaademo/doopaashanguo/
  3. 3 http://hi.baidu.com/madesign
  4. 4 http://uicom.net/blog
  5. 5 http://www.ucdchina.com/
  6. 6 http://www.junchenwu.com/
  7. 7 http://ucdchina.com/lytous
  8. 8 http://lytous.ucdchina.com/?p=2103
  9. 9 http://www.google.com/profiles/johnwoooo
  10. 10 http://www.rexsong.com/
  11. 11 http://mfm.moliyo.com/event/unionWar/index.html
  12. 12 http://mfm.moliyo.com/event/unionWar/index.html
  13. 13 http://wbdq.midea.com.cn/2010/newyear/
  14. 14 http://wbdq.midea.com.cn/2010/newyear/
  15. 15 http://www.shoebox.com.cn
  16. 16 http://www.shoebox.com.cn
  17. 17 http://www.google.cn/
  18. 18 http://www.google.com/
  19. 19 http://www.shanghaivive.com.cn/
  20. 20 http://www.shanghaivive.com.cn/
  21. 21 http://www.coolbear.cn/
  22. 22 http://www.coolbear.cn/
  23. 23 http://www.coolbear.cn/
  24. 24 http://www.miandianfang.com/
  25. 25 http://www.miandianfang.com/
  26. 26 http://www.shoebox.com.cn
  27. 27 http://www.shoebox.com.cn
  28. 28 http://www.ophone001.com/
  29. 29 http://www.ophone001.com/
  30. 30 http://www.artlans.com
  31. 31 http://www.artlans.com
  32. 32 http://www.conceives.cn/sheji/index.htm
  33. 33 http://www.conceives.cn/sheji/index.htm
  34. 34 http://www.kaixin.com
  35. 35 http://lipton.renren.com/chain.do
  36. 36 http://www.renren.com
  37. 37 http://lipton.renren.com/chain.do
  38. 38 http://www.m-ms.com.cn
  39. 39 http://www.m-ms.com.cn
  40. 40 http://www.iloveg3.com/
  41. 41 http://www.iloveg3.com/
  42. 42 http://buy.yoho.cn/
  43. 43 http://buy.yoho.cn/
  44. 44 http://www.chinavisual.com
  45. 45 http://www.chinavisual.com
  46. 46 http://www.163.com/
  47. 47 http://www.163.com/
  48. 48 http://www.sina.com/
  49. 49 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dao
  50. 50 http://www.pizzahut.com.cn
  51. 51 http://www.pizzahut.com.cn
  52. 52 http://www.pizzahut.com/
  53. 53 http://www.pizzahut.com/
  54. 54 http://www.mcdonalds.com.cn/momskids/momsclub.aspx
  55. 55 http://www.mcdonalds.com.cn/momskids/momsclub.aspx
  56. 56 http://www.tong2studio.com/Version2009/index.aspx
  57. 57 http://www.tong2studio.com/Version2009/index.aspx
  58. 58 http://www.sixstation.com/
  59. 59 http://www.sixstation.com/
  60. 60 http://doopaa.cn/doopaademo/doopaashanguo/
  61. 61 http://doopaa.cn/doopaademo/doopaashanguo/
  62. 62 http://www.wooov.com
  63. 63 http://www.wooov.com
  64. 64 http://www.idt.net.cn/
  65. 65 http://www.idt.net.cn/
  66. 66 http://www.uguanbing.com/
  67. 67 http://www.uguanbing.com/
  68. 68 http://www.xinhongru.com/
  69. 69 http://www.xinhongru.com/
  70. 70 http://edge.thinkworld.com.cn/
  71. 71 http://edge.thinkworld.com.cn
  72. 72 http://mfm.moliyo.com/
  73. 73 http://mfm.moliyo.com/
  74. 74 http://www.361sport.com
  75. 75 http://www.361sport.com
  76. 76 http://www.dovechocolate.com.cn/
  77. 77 http://www.dovechocolate.com.cn/
  78. 78 http://www.bangbangwa.com/?jdfwkey=xtvav3
  79. 79 http://www.bangbangwa.com/?jdfwkey=xtvav3
  80. 80 http://www.juyun.org/
  81. 81 http://www.juyun.org/
  82. 82 http://shuxia.cc/
  83. 83 http://shuxia.cc/
  84. 84 http://www.jossyjo.com.cn/main.html
  85. 85 http://www.jossyjo.com.cn/main.html
  86. 86 http://www.apsou.com/
  87. 87 http://www.apsou.com/
  88. 88 http://www.ppoqq.com/
  89. 89 http://www.ppoqq.com/
  90. 90 http://w.webe7.com/
  91. 91 http://w.webe7.com/
  92. 92 http://www.sansheng-toscana.com
  93. 93 http://www.sansheng-toscana.com
  94. 94 http://www.wotoon.com/index.php
  95. 95 http://www.wotoon.com/index.php
  96. 96 http://www.shaopan.net/index.html
  97. 97 http://www.shaopan.net/index.html
  98. 98 http://www.energysource-cn.com/card/2009/
  99. 99 http://www.energysource-cn.com/card/2009/
  100. 100 http://www.g-space.cn/main.html
  101. 101 http://www.g-space.cn/main.html
  102. 102 http://www.hahadiy.com
  103. 103 http://www.hahadiy.com
  104. 104 http://www.shizixiu.com.cn/
  105. 105 http://www.shizixiu.com.cn/
  106. 106 http://www.web081.com/tangsheng/web/
  107. 107 http://www.web081.com/tangsheng/web/
  108. 108 http://www.whcsj.com/main.html
  109. 109 http://www.whcsj.com/main.html
  110. 110 http://www.nava.cn/nava/web/B2C/welcome.htm
  111. 111 http://www.nava.cn/nava/web/B2C/welcome.htm
  112. 112 http://tiida.dongfeng-nissan.com.cn/
  113. 113 http://tiida.dongfeng-nissan.com.cn/
  114. 114 http://www.freewing.cn/
  115. 115 http://www.freewing.cn/
  116. 116 http://www.jjying.cn/index.html
  117. 117 http://www.jjying.cn/index.html
  118. 118 http://www.orangebj.com/
  119. 119 http://www.orangebj.com/
  120. 120 http://www1.poco.cn/topic/nescafe/
  121. 121 http://www1.poco.cn/topic/nescafe/
  122. 122 http://www.yeechino.cn/
  123. 123 http://www.yeechino.cn/
  124. 124 http://www.goldchino.com/
  125. 125 http://www.goldchino.com/
  126. 126 http://www.89525.net/v1/
  127. 127 http://www.89525.net/v1/
  128. 128 http://sh.vanke.com/shanghai/ranchosantafe/main.htm
  129. 129 http://sh.vanke.com/shanghai/ranchosantafe/main.htm
  130. 130 http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/NussbaumOnDesign/archives/2010/01/internet_freedo.html
  131. 131 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanxi
  132. 132 http://www.useit.com/alertbox/guesses-data.html
  133. 133 http://item.taobao.com/auction/item_detail-0db2-6a6550b38025a687387bcaf63d330343.jhtml?cm_cat=0
  134. 134 http://www.douban.com/
  135. 135 http://www.douban.com/
  136. 136 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanzhai
  137. 137 http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/NussbaumOnDesign/archives/2009/07/chinas_design_c.html
  138. 138 http://ucdchina.com/club/
  139. 139 http://ucdchina.com/club/2009/
  140. 140 http://www.upachina.org/
  141. 141 http://www.d2forum.org/
  142. 142 http://lytous.ucdchina.com/?p=2103
  143. 143 http://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Design-Love-Everyday-Things/dp/0465051359
  144. 144 http://www.amazon.com/Designing-Web-Interfaces-Principles-Interactions/dp/0596516258/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265926562&sr=8-1
  145. 145 http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/
  146. 146 http://www.douban.com/
  147. 147 http://www.ifeng.com/
  148. 148 http://since1984.cn/blog/
  149. 149 http://m.metroer.com/
  150. 150 http://mooogu.cn/blog/
  151. 151 http://apple4.us
  152. 152 http://ffffound.com/
  153. 153 http://www.notcot.org/
  154. 154 http://weheartit.com/
  155. 155 http://core77.com/
  156. 156 http://www.engadget.com/
  157. 157 http://thedesigninspiration.com/
  158. 158 http://www.dbcut.com/bbs/index.php
  159. 159 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/02/23/shalom-showcase-of-web-design-in-israel/
  160. 160 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/10/17/global-web-design-russia/
  161. 161 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/01/26/showcase-of-web-design-in-germany/
  162. 162 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/12/12/viva-mexico-showcase-of-web-design-in-mexico/
  163. 163 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/10/23/showcase-of-web-design-in-ireland-2/
  164. 164 http://www.kejunxu.com/
  165. 165 http://www.uxrnd.com/
  166. 166 http://blogbuildingu.com/
  167. 167 http://marketingloop.com/
  168. 168 http://twitter.com/hendrylee

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Kejun Xu, an information architect devoted to user experience research; a user researcher dedicated to user-centered design; a usability engineer engaged in making the Web easier to use; and a translator and interpreter who loves inter-cultural communication and bridging people together. She designs for her users, making their lives easier and hassle-free. She blogs once a while, about UXRnD, to record the auto parts and loose diamonds, in case she forgets.

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  1. 1

    jezzz super cool! very different than the western style!

    • 2

      Very good read. Interesting to think that there are Chinese middle class banging away on keyboards and mouse clicks, trying to get one symbol into one frame and code the AS just right.

      You can do more with flash. You can get closer to a profound visual experience. So what if Flash sucks for SEO? You get a better site, a better brand experience, an improved overall experience of the web…if it’s slow for you, your computer sucks. Evolve or die.

      Their typefaces look different, but they look just like western websites. There isn’t a big cultural difference, other than the visual elements.

      I want to know about web sweatshops!!!

      • 3

        Was in the design biz in Beijing for 6 years and it’s a very different market. I found 9 out of 10 local Chinese companies did not see value in professional designs. Most customers were foreign companies entering China who expected the same design principles as in the US. Not one out of hundreds of clients requested flash only sites.

    • 4

      Yes very cool, i like Chinese designers. I think WEBE7 Enterprise Network Interactive is one of the best one.

      Best regards

  2. 5

    so I guess China will prevent Flash from dying? :P

    Great showcase, thanks SM

    • 6

      Heh! My thoughts exactly. I HATE Flash-heavy sites… one of the links above took about a minute to load up on a very wide connection to the internet.

      • 7

        J Pancras Gomez

        March 16, 2010 3:28 am

        A lot of flash stuff YES. Flash may not die after all. There is a lot of character stuff happening on the sites. Good to see a different set of designs. Cool stuff.

      • 8

        Sorry about the wait.

        Well, Flash serves its purposes in many ways. Many Flash sites are aesthetically pleasing. From the psychological perspective, people like beautiful things. They stir our emotion, whether we are aware of it or not. And many humans beings’ decision making are outside of our consciousness. I am not going to expand about this but there are lots of research out there talking about emotional design.

        In addition, for product promotional sites that cater for the younger generation or whose target audience/users may like motions and interactions, Flash is not a bad choice.

        So emotional design and product intent, or product requirement.

        Although I don’t deny the fact that some Chinese and Korean websites sorta abuse the use of Flash and make their websites flashy and slow, which is not a good use of their developers’ time, and users’ time.

    • 9

      Unfortunately seems like that, and not only Flash but also IE6.0, so we western web designers in China still have a difficult life for years to come :(

  3. 10

    能看见国人的东西不容易,加油!

  4. 11

    Nice Collection !

  5. 12

    强,继续加油!亚洲支持你!

  6. 14

    hey,

    very interessting guest posting. I love articles like this. Thanks for all the showcases of international webdesign, this helps alot to get an impression of WORLDWIDE web!

    greetings

  7. 15

    Absolutely need to support this article as a Chinese. Good job!

  8. 16

    Once again a very nice, inspiring post..

    Love how you’ve taken websites from all kinds of industries and how you’ve compared some Western style website with Chinese websites.

    And, wow! The NetEase website. I really dislike such sites, but it seems to be typical Asian style to design in such style for content-heavy website with loads of links.

  9. 17

    Cyril quatrepointzero

    March 15, 2010 9:10 am

    Great showcases
    It’s a nice way for discovering website design from all over the world,
    Keep up the good work. ,

  10. 18

    Paula is QuiteCurious

    March 15, 2010 9:52 am

    Great showcase! It’s always interesting to see websites from other countries. Props to Chinese designers for using Chinese characters on the web – it looks tough to design with characters that need to have a large minimum type size (or am I wrong?)

    • 19

      是的,汉字不能使用过于小的字体(小于9px),否则会看不清楚,这的确是个问题。
      Yes, you are right, We can not use font-size smaller than 9px。It’s a problem。

      • 20

        有几个宋体(pmingliu or 细明体)可以设置到11像素,但已经是最小的用法了,再小就看不清楚了。
        There are several songti(pmingliu or MingLiu) can be set to 11 pixel, but has the smallest usage, and then the small is not see clearly.

      • 21

        for Simsun(宋体), I have to use 12px, I think this is the smallest font-size.

    • 22

      Not only that, Chinese web-typography is extremely limited by the fact that the fonts are so large (having to accommodate at least 4000 individual characters). This means that there are really only 2 “web-safe” fonts (the equivalent of ‘serif’ and ‘sans-serif’… one is bold and blocky, the other is thin and has small flourises at the end of some strokes) which you can be sure everyone will have installed on their computer. The size of the font files makes any sort of font-replacement method unfeasible.

      No matter what size they are displayed, the on-screen characters always appear ugly (especially on windows machines) and can never do justice to what is (or at least should be) an extremely beautiful and creative form of writing. If you look at traditional Chinese calligraphic paintings you can see that they conform to all the principles of good design, conveying the content so clearly and elegantly, and yet this cannot easily be transposed onto the web. This is yet another reason why Chinese web designers choose to use so much flash, so that they can incorporate custom-designed type.

  11. 23

    Very interesting article, thank you SM! My wife and I are in the process of relocating to Asia, so as designers, this article came right on time.

    As a “Western” designer, I really liked the Chinese approach of branding through culture. This should be more widespread in the West, where it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate one country from the next. People are in search of identities tied to their perimeter, and the idea of linking modern information to historical or fantasy-related facts is a big plus.

    • 24

      Hi Hector! We are entering a Chinese market with a new project and would be interested in cooperation with you as a web designer. Will you please mail me.

  12. 25

    This is a brilliant article. A great read for this evening, thanks to all the authors and SM team!! I love you :)

    I also think there are many beautiful websites presented in this showcase. To me [not a designer] Chinese web design is distinctive and different from others I’ve seen through this SM’s post series. I would say it’s more vivid and kind of cheerful.. many websites are rather cluttered, or maybe I’ve been spoiled by minimalist websites that have been on the wave lately.. not sure :) Yes, I see the heavy use of Flash, but as long as flash website loads fast (as most of them do today) I see nothing wrong with this. Thanks again for the post guys, I enjoy learning more about World WILD Web :)

    • 26

      Thanks indigo for the thorough comment. East or west, a lot of designers whom I talked to like minimalism design. But I guess when it comes to putting the design into wires and visuals, it really depends on the business requirement and your stakeholders. You may use user research to change your stakeholders’ mind but if the business case requires cluttered design, we might then need to design for it. Take a look at msn news, google news, ebay, AOL, they are all busy, at different degrees. Then designers’ job is to uncluttered it using better layout, more meaningful navigation and information design.

      Just my two cents.

  13. 27

    Nice stuff. But, since people were so gracious as to point out Israel’s political misgivings on another, similar regional post, I’d like to point out the same with China – arguably the biggest human rights violators on Earth.

    David Kaplan

  14. 28

    I love chinese art…

  15. 29

    走出中国,感动世界!Step out of China and inspired the World.

    亚洲之光!加油!

  16. 30

    anonymous (berlinerin)

    March 15, 2010 10:44 am

    牛b!

    But,

    “Chinese is rooted in hieroglyphic characters. Typing in Chinese on an alphabet-based keyboard can be slow”

    Chinese isn’t really hieroglyphic / pictographic, though some older characters are or are derived from. And character entry on an alphabet keyboard can be very fast depending on the input method. Even a standard mobile phone it’s possible to enter all common characters with only six keys.

    And…

    Chinese women designers?

    (Yes, I’m complaining about this again.)

    • 31

      Smashing Editorial

      March 16, 2010 2:36 am

      No worries, we are preparing two articles about women in the web design industry, so please just stay tuned.

  17. 32

    Google is considering leaving China because of the many demands China had for Google. China is unwilling to do any concessions for the search engine. It looks like china looses the war on censorship on it’s searchengines.

  18. 33

    Thanks guys for the compliment! I appreciate that!

    To Berlinnerin, yes it’s fast for tech savvy and frequent web surfers in China to enter Chinese characters at keyboards but if you do a little bit of user research, it’s not the case for the average users esp. middle aged and seniors. (My dad goes online but he doesn’t type fast.)

    You know what, I was trying hard to locate a female designer but there are so few I can select that have web presence…

  19. 34

    creative design inspirations from chines designer’s gallery.

  20. 35

    I’d love to see a resource for good typographic practices when building Chinese HTML sites. If you know any, drop me a line at twitter.com/the1stretch !

  21. 36

    We are Design for CHINA: http://www.gosone.com

  22. 37

    Oh wow – I really enjoyed reading this post thanks! I’ve only really used Baidu and Taobao extensively, and always wondered why Flash was so prominently used on other websites (this isn’t just a phenomenon in China as other Asian countries like to do the same thing it seems) but the interviews with such prominent designers have been a great insight into it all.

    Thanks.

  23. 38

    A great read. I’d also like to point out that traditional advertising in Asia takes this flashy, colorful approach and it looks like the web in Asian countries merely took what has been practiced for years. Just walk around any large Asian city and notice the busy, cluttered ads that plaster the walls and the commercials on TV. The preferred minimalist “Web 2.0″ look just wouldn’t stand out!

  24. 39

    Great article.

  25. 42

    Interesting to see the cultural differences concerning design. I am a big fan of simplicity in webdesign. Many presented chinese sites are very colorful. Too colorful for my personal taste but thanks for this interesting compilation :)
    Do you others also feel that the chinese characters feels somehow bumpy?

  26. 43

    It’s amazing how some designers from western countries feel threatened when they see this kind of awesome designs and start complaining about heavy use of flash, lots of colors, etc… or like the last post about israel when people wrote more comments about palestine than about the designs, I wonder who will be the first one to write about tibet or stuff like that in this case… anyways, great designs… congrats to chinese designers!!
    by the way, I’m from mexico city

    • 44

      not really, I, as a Chinese, hate browsing Chinese website because they are web pages are so clustered. I love the minimalistic approach I learned in western design. ;)

  27. 45

    Guys ….. your creativity is amazing ….

  28. 46

    I’m digging these designs!
    This is a huge collection, must have taken quite a while to come up with.

    Thank you.

  29. 47

    NB 终于上SMASHING 首页了。。我国的FLASH文化果然够NB。。我们绝对不必鬼佬差!!

  30. 48

    Great article, very interesting to see the differences and similarities in design trends. Any chance we could be seeing a similar article for trends in web design in Japan?

  31. 49

    Cre8ive Commando

    March 15, 2010 4:05 pm

    Interesting article. Btw, Taobao is awesome! :-)

  32. 50

    豆瓣观光团到此一游

    看了这么久欧美设计,这次终于看见中国人自己的了。作为一名网页设计师,我很欣慰。

    中国加油!

  33. 51

    特地从google reader中发来贺电…加油!!

  34. 52

    中国的webdesigners是网上非常活跃的一个群体,关于以用户为中心的设计,他们已经有了一些很有价值的思考,中国的webdesigners,加油!

  35. 53

    很高兴看到我们公司的设计,非常感谢。

  36. 54

    能看到中国的设计,支持一下~~~!

  37. 55

    amazing.

  38. 56

    Incredible, masterful collection! 5-stars. And super inspiring! Some of this stuff reminds me of my friend, jR’s work … Progressive One

  39. 57

    Hi,I am a Chinese UE designer, I think this article could help us reconsider our design methods and the importance of testing.Anyway, great article, thanks!

  40. 58

    看了这么久,就这篇文章看着亲切呀。

  41. 59

    amazing !!!

  42. 60

    淘宝店铺都有,强的!

  43. 62

    呵呵 同样很期待韩国和日本的设计专题

  44. 63

    I love Chinese ink and watercolor painting .

  45. 64

    I would love to read other Asian countries’ showcases too. We originally wanted to do the whole Asia showcase but ended up only doing China. It’s so hard to speak for another country whose language is not your native tongue.

  46. 65

    特地从google reader发来贺电

    加油 中国web design

  47. 66

    very , very ,very impressive ~~~~~

  48. 67

    This is a very nice article. Thanks for writing and publishing it!
    写的非常好,真的有意思! 谢谢你。

  49. 68

    so glad to see this article.thanks! i think it’s very usefull for both chinese and western desingners.

  50. 69

    Very very interesting, I saw my company works. oh!!!
    Cheering China!!!

  51. 71

    哇 终于轮到天朝了

  52. 72

    非常好的文章! Great article guys! I have been spending the last 10 months researching this exact topic for my Masters degree… its been an amazing time, even got to go to Shanghai twice for the practical part: i designed a Chinese culturally adapted website for a New Zealand company in Shanghai.

    Brilliant people, brilliant country, brilliant design!

  53. 73

    The first time ,I found lots of Chinese designer are here ~~另,豆瓣改版了:)~~

  54. 74

    其实还是中国字好看。

  55. 75

    Wonderful… Very colorful & Spicy as chinese food…..
    :)

  56. 77

    终于看到熟悉的页面了,留言记录

  57. 78

    整的不错

  58. 79

    Hi nice collection, check out my personal portfolio and send me email with comments on that portfolio.jamalnasir.com/

  59. 80

    nice article!

  60. 81

    Great article and a topic that really hits close to home. I currently work as an art director for a design agency in Taiwan – the “renegade province” considered to be part of the mainland depending on your political views. I’m often asked by friends and colleagues back home (in California) what challenges we face in working in the creative industry here and whether there were opportunities for them to tap into the greater China market. I think this article provides great insight in answering a lot of these questions – especially in the interviews with the Chinese designers.

  61. 82

    Great article.

    I just want to add that flash is good solution for chinese web . There are 2 reasons:

    1. Typography – there is no much choice in terms of system fonts. I dont think anybody uses more than 1. And sorry to say this – bold, italic, too small chinese font – looks like crap…

    2. IE6 is still pain in the ass . On some of my websites 70% users browsing with IE ( 50% of that is IE6) – so sometimes is just easier to make everything in flash

  62. 84

    I think you really hit the nail on the head with this article. The ‘Chinese web’ is all about flash and is all aimed specifically to engage Chinese users.

    What is difficult to grasp for many Western readers is that I think the way people engage the internet in China is soooo different in many ways. As the article points out, the vast majority of Chinese internet surfers aren’t looking for goods/services/information but rather games, entertainment, and social interaction.

    It can be frustrating when you’re searching on Baidu for something simple like local cinema listings and sudenly you’re not faced with a webpage for your local cinema but rather endless blogs or BBS pages with extremely cryptic URLs containing a wholly unmemorable mix of numbers and letters.

    Chinese people are less likely to have their own personal websites on http://www.myname.com but will go for pages on blog rings like sina or msnlive. They will also rarely engage with any western websites but rather have the option of using a Chinese immitation (usually a carbon-copy… see http://www.yupoo.com ) where there is a demand for that service.

    The 2 main limitations of the ‘Chinese web’, in my opinion, do not have anything to do with the censorship, which barely affects any one in China (why would they want Facebook when they have Kaixin? Why would they want Twitter when they have Zuosha and Fanfou? etc.) to the point that few people are even aware of it. No the main limitations are, as I said in a previous comment, the typography – ‘web-safe’ Chinese fonts can never do justics to such a beautiful form of writing that could potentially be used so creatively. The other HUGE limitation is the prominence of IE6… which I obviously need not go on about. These limitations in themselves drive Chinese designers/developers to rely more on flash as a cross-browser and creatively flexible option. Oh and excellent point about the lack of education programmes as well… hadn’t though of that.. that’s another big limitation :p

    Having personally worked as a web designer with various Chinese agencies for many years, I have seen little progress towards more user-friendly, standards-compliant, cross-browser compatible front-end markup I’m afraid to say. The emphasis is still very much on sticking with the status quo in terms of static html pages that resemble those we would have seen in the West in the late 90s, only serving IE users (for instance try doing any online banking or shopping in China without IE…), or otherwise going all out with flash.

    There are universal design principles that I don’t think can be ignored or justified by saying ‘the page is designed for clicks’. Glaring colours, distracting animation, poor navigation, poor content layout, bulky and non-semantic code… These are all things that serve to make a webpage less usable no matter what language it’s in or what culture it’s geared towards. Sina.com, qq.com, 163.com etc. have barely improved over the last 10 years and still remains a very ugly and hard-to-use site… they remain popular due only to market dominance. Try testing someone to find something on any of those pages that they wouldn’t normally look for and you’ll see them straining their eyes.

    While I enjoy making flash sites and I often see some really impressive flash-work coming out of Chinese agencies, I can’t help but suspect it must be frustrating for so many people, possibly in busy internet cafes or rural areas, who must endure the slow load times.

    Hopefully this hasn’t sounded like a long rant… if so here’s a positive example of a well-designed non-flash ‘cluttered’ page that is presented in a clear and friendly way, with smart typography. It’s a forum to connect freelance designers and design agencies with clients and shows off some fantastic work from Chinese designers.

    http://www.toidea.com/

    中国加油!

    • 85

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It was very well thought and written.

      Considering the fact that,

      1. the thoughts of these designers I interviewed may not represent all of designers’ thinking in China;

      2. it were semi structured interviews and I was the only person to do the data analysis and there wasn’t any inter coder reliability guarantee;

      3. I see it as a qualitative study and the sample size is not statistically significant,

      this article provides the insights to those well known designers in China, but it’s really the readers’ responsibility to judge if they want to generalize the findings to the greater application.

      Thanks again and your comments were very informative!

    • 86

      I agree with Darryl.
      ‘the page is designed for clicks’ is really bad.
      I always browse taobao.com which offers tons of stuff at affordable price however it is almost impossible to find something without using search function so…why does the designer put thousands of link and flashy banner on the homepage?

      • 87

        But you cannot deny the fact that there is a group of users who would like to see these mass category links and well designed pretty banners. It’s an alternative way way of browsing information in addition to search. In usability, you want to offer different ways to look for the same information. Some people think linearly and some are exploratory.

        Also there are marketing needs behind the scenes. I am sure by tagging these banners you can get all the way to revenue.

        Just my $.02:)

  63. 88

    I am really excited to see such article about webdesign in my homeland! But in fact, many outstanding designers have not been mentioned. you may find them at 68design.net/Interview

  64. 89

    Mr. Giải Pháp Số

    March 15, 2010 11:37 pm

    Wow! Very cool!

  65. 90

    这个必须顶!!!

  66. 91

    看到国人做的如此好,很HAPPY。
    有些想法: 如果能多加些中国风的东西效果更佳。
    比如, 书法,水墨,中国结,剪纸等元素。
    呵呵, 个人想法~~

  67. 92

    Great article!!
    Although I’m Chinese, I’m a fan of simplicity or minimalist. Anyway, I now understand why most of the web site in China are flashy and some sites are overwhelmed visuals and contents.

  68. 93

    Interesting style with a lot of detail in some of them!
    Most of them are a bit too flashy for my taste – but I’ll guess thats just the way things work on the other side of the world :)

  69. 94

    Nice looking websites, but EXTREMELY slow!

    • 95

      They’re usually much faster if you’re in China :p

      but still yeah… big flash sites are always going to be relatively slow.

  70. 96

    SM加油~

  71. 97

    Awsome! :)

    I can’t wait for Pland. We got heiz :)

  72. 98

    Extreme professionalism n all designs….. Good Work guys

  73. 99

    Kelga Creations

    March 16, 2010 2:53 am

    Awesome stuff! I’m a multimedia designer and Asian too. But never thought how different Chinese web designs are compared to Western web designs just with the difference in culture. This article points it out nicely and very informative!

  74. 100

    含泪飘过,smashingmagazine 上第一次见china design 希望以后会越来越有影响力

  75. 101

    Nice examples.

  76. 102

    成长的过程。

  77. 103

    头一次看到国人的作品,很是骄傲。
    This is the first time to see my chinese guys’s works here, well done!

  78. 104

    让亿万网民淹没这里吧 竟然发现了国产的.

  79. 105

    中国的皇帝

    March 16, 2010 5:30 am

    显示您的山雀、 中国女孩 !

  80. 106

    That Kaixin game seems almost identical with a similar farm game on the japanese mixi social network. Anyone knows if the two sites are related to each other in some way..?

  81. 107

    Thank you for introducing Chinese web design to the western world. I’m from Blueidea.com, a web site and forums for professional web designer and developers in China for over twelve years. You may check the url below: http://home.blueidea.com/apps.php?do=case and http://home.blueidea.com/apps.php?do=pages to find more awesome designs from China. I hope I’ll see more articles from you to present Chinese web design on Smashing Magazine. If there’s anything I can help, you got my mail. :)

  82. 109

    我激动,留下足迹……
    不得不说分析的不错……

  83. 110

    Superb! 太正啦!虽然我不是来自中国,但太亲切啦!

  84. 111

    very comprehensive! thanks

  85. 112

    Interesting article and an interesting insite as to how the web works differently in the Eastern world to the West.

    Inspiring!

  86. 113

    Well Done! guys. the title says it all.
    good on all chinese designers.

    支持国人!

  87. 114

    中国的,我骄傲啊!为我们所有的设计师叫好!

  88. 115

    看着感觉很亲切啊~继续关注~~学习之

  89. 116

    I really hate Flash-based site with no meaningful at all, but slow experience. I am living in China and a native Chinese. These sites just suck as they are though our culture and characters are great.

  90. 117

    Great!
    I will work harder for CHINA DESIGN!

  91. 118

    Good Works of Chinese designers.
    Thanks for the post.

    Regards
    Rupam

  92. 119

    Wow! Gr8 article.. Thanks :)

  93. 120

    加油!总有一天我的设计也能显示在这里!

    I’m proud of being a chinese,I’m proud of being a chinese designer. FIGHTING!

  94. 121

    哈哈 中国的web designer 加油!

  95. 122

    some really great designs.
    i don’t like heavy flash use, but they do some awsome websites.
    keep bringing us more showcases…

  96. 123

    This comment was deleted due to offtopic.

  97. 124

    web designer come on!

  98. 125

    中国原创设计加油。

  99. 126

    as a matter of fact, chinese portal sites contain too much typographical characters. it seems annoying. personally, i don’t like it.

  100. 127

    Very Good Job ,中国设计

  101. 128

    Very nice article n add on to very inetresting.
    Smashing magazine good job..n thanks !

  102. 129

    中国的网站设计实际比西方的设计要解决更多的问题,尤其是字体。

  103. 130

    Come on,我也来顶一个,发现评论里大多是中国的,太high了!

  104. 131

    中国有太多的元素可以用来借鉴开发网页,我希望中国的设计者们多多探索,开发出更好的网页。
    China has many culture elements to use in websites . Wish China designers the more exploring , the better pages!

  105. 132

    great websites from chine
    :)

    i am dying to see Indian web design showcase :)

    thanks

  106. 133

    Brilliant article. But we all agree: Flash sucks bigtime. If you want to make a movie, make a movie. If you want to make a website, make a website. A website is not a movie, a movie is not a website. Simple.

  107. 134

    Wonderful read.

    Yes, keep the look of Chinese but kill the Flash. It would be perfect.

  108. 135

    不错不错,中国设计加油啊!

  109. 137

    呵呵,国人终于有精髓了。不错,加油。

  110. 138

    中国产品走向自主创新,这是趋势……..但是还有很长的路要走~~~加油吧!

  111. 139

    Excellent article for reading. So proud of that as a Chinese :D
    加油!↖(^ω^)↗

  112. 140
  113. 141

    Loving the six station site

  114. 142

    中国good!

  115. 143

    HI…. This is Aravind from chennai in India…….. everything looks awesome…… you people doing nice work…… thanks for this article ….

  116. 144

    感动,终于看到china的作品啦。。。加油!!!

  117. 145

    中国设计, 支持国人!

  118. 146

    这么久,终于看到了国人设计,加油!

  119. 147

    I come from China, my home page design by axure rp. it’s http://www.yintop.com

  120. 148

    This makes me proud to be Chinese!

    I’ve been trying to integrate more of the Chinese style right now, but my portfolio just has the regular old bokehs and such.

  121. 149

    Great examples! Love the six station site

  122. 150

    能看到中国的网页设计,真开心!分析的不错,任重而道远!加油!

  123. 151

    Chinese web designer are going to have to make an extra effort ~
    我们一直在努力~

  124. 152

    I personally love it, their use of elements to express a message is quite interesting. Our boss on the other hand has made it very clear that he does not like it all.

  125. 153

    谢谢 Kejun (Michelle) Xu 的文章.

    很高兴能在 SM 看到关于中国的设计.

    Thanks SM!

  126. 154

    真是亲切啊!这页面!激动…… thanks.

  127. 155

    很有趣的文章
    但中國的網頁設計還是需要更多努力

  128. 156

    Guys,you did a good job. keep on going!

  129. 157

    It is great showcase. Personally, I think we should not compare the Chinese design with western design. The client end users have totally different culture and knowledge. I would say if you put some western design into Chinese market, you may get a huge reject.

  130. 158

    Let’s all bow to the Chinese! Whether we like how they do the web or not is up to them. But sure enough they have a distinct style on the cyber space. They are more of a visual people using art for full expression. Let’s not forget that just as minimal designs have their place and function, cluttered designs also has their place very much firmly fixed in the market place. For people buying online, they don’t want to keep clicking.

    Just a thought: Is that most websites that are entirely based on flash tend more to entertain more than sell?

  131. 159

    Wow! I had no idea China had such tremendous creative talent.
    Amazing stuff.

  132. 160

    The rationalisation for the current state of Chinese internet design may have more to a total lack of consideration for how users would like content served to them, as opposed to how users have it served up by uneducated designers. These super long pages recall newspapers, the only content heavy delivery format the very first web designers where exposed to. Since that point on, it’s become a self justifying circle.
    “That website over there has a huge audience and is heavily trafficked. Don’t think to improve it, copy it!”

  133. 161

    Great read! Really Interesting Article!

    Would love to see more articles on cross cultural comparisons on western design vs other culturals (eg. Eastern Europe, South American, Russian, etc…) .
    I always feel more inspired/enegised by other culturals designs

  134. 162

    Does anyone know any good Chinese pdf files regarding web design (XHTML strict) or usability/user centered design?

  135. 163

    burningtoothpick

    March 28, 2010 7:21 pm

    this is great!

  136. 164

    A case in point is a feature provided by Kaixin.com (Kaixin means “happy”), which recently spurred a social phenomenon in China: “Stealing vegetables.” Kaixin pretty much copied Facebook’s navigation and user interaction. But it’s different in what it allows you to do: set up your “Happy Farm,” build your house, grow your own vegetables and then steal your friends’ vegetables when they are ready to be harvested. Some dedicated players even made Excel spreadsheets to track their friends’ harvest season in order to expedite stealing. It’s like any other video game but embedded on a social networking website, allowing you to play with a wider variety of users. “Stealing vegetables” became so popular that it drew the attention of censors from China’s Ministry of Culture. Under pressure from the Ministry, the game is now called “Picking vegetables,” a less offensive euphemism for mainstream Chinese culture. Online players still prefer the more accurate name.

  137. 165

    这个必须顶!!

  138. 166

    2pxBorder.co.nz

    April 11, 2010 6:10 pm

    Great article! We need to figure out a way to make the Chinese typography better, right now, the chars looks awful on web.

  139. 167
  140. 168

    Excellent article!
    Very interesting to see the similarities in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese web design. At our little web design company here in Japan we’ve been studying why there is so much Flash used in Japanese web design.
    Reading through the comments here, I would agree that one of the biggest reasons is the lack of good Japanese fonts that will display correctly. Sometimes using Flash or images is the only option if you want to use a beautiful font.
    Would love to see a similar article about web design in Japan please!

    konnichiwa-japan, inc.

  141. 169

    十四亿人的拷贝哲学,成就完全不同十四亿人共同的智慧,

  142. 170

    Yeah, I agree with many others that the Eastern web font is so limited, so to create a site with artistic fonts, we had to use Flash instead. For the eastern side, the Flash is still important because it can do “flashy stuff”, thus why some of the websites have so many flashy banners…

    But there are a lot of really nice examples there which I can see that the design in improving! Although I’m not from China but I’m a Chinese, this is really a great post! 中国加油!

    期待日本,韩国,或其他亚洲国家的专题。Looking forward to Japan, Korea and other Asia countries showcases as well.

  143. 171

    嗯,看到国人设计,欣慰.
    同时也希望看到亚洲其他国家的设计专题.

  144. 172

    第一次留言献给咱中国的post! 太高兴了!!!

    I’ve always loved coming to this site for inspiration and to see the current trends. I think it’s great that Smashing is taking both the Western as well as Eastern culture into consideration since Eastern design is definitely becoming a huge influence around the world. Keep up the good work!

  145. 173

    Use more chinese elements into our design is a wonderful thing.

  146. 174

    Surprised!
    I will add some websites to my site from this showcase.

  147. 175

    i cant say anything …

    what a mind do they have ??!!!
    i am dreaming to be 11000 of them in these creative works …

  148. 176

    Great article and really hits close to home. I love articles like this – good job of producing a nice inspiring post. I’m from Chinnovate.com, Chinnovate is a marketplace for the best Chinese innovation. We help people find innovation originating from China that make life more interesting and effectively.

    You might also check out Velo.com.cn, which has a nice design and a good consumer role model.

  149. 177

    在这个网站逛了差不多两年了.今天能看到关于中国设计的文章.这么长的一篇文章,硬着头皮看完.特地用中文发表下评论.让更多的人认识中国文化.

    中国这几年用户体验进步很大,特别是电子商务.飞速发展..

  150. 178

    I recommend this website, the best web design in China I’ve ever seen, http://www.wangfan.com/ such a shame they didn’t get mentioned in the content!

  151. 179

    This article is epic. With so many superb info and links, it really really epic. Thanks for that. All of the Chinese web work is very inspirational, and i’m truly in love with most of the website in the article. So once again good job and tnx.

  152. 180

    难得看到了国人的设计,中国的web设计正在走向世界化,并且逐渐趋向用户体验的完善。
    采访的中国设计师当中有很多熟悉的面孔。

    It’s rare to see the design products of Chinese designers. Web design in China is heading for a new world. UCD pattern will be used more and more often in the near future.
    Most of the interviewed designers are familiar.

    Thank you very much for sharing this article.

  153. 181

    actually, Google.cn animation is made by png image and javascript, not Flash.

  154. 182

    抱着电子词典,我把这篇文章看完了。看到作者的时候,才发现,哦,原来是咱中国人写的文章啊!英语真赞!

    已经看了半年的UCDChina了。概念也在慢慢地补全。这篇文章把我的思路又重新整理了一遍。确实,在看这篇文章之前,我就感慨,中国的网站Flash太泛滥了。我经常看些国外有着优秀设计的网站,用的Flash并不多。也许需要一个过程吧。当然,我这里并没有说不该用。

    我认为国内的网站Flash用的多,也是符合中国国情的。IE 6.0在国外已经淘汰了。但是,在中国,绝大多数网民还用着IE 6.0。考虑到其对一些 CSS 的不支持,网站中的效果用Flash表现是最保险的。因为不存在用不同的浏览器看到不同效果的情况。未来即将是HTML5+CSS3.0的时代,但是要在中国普及,还需要浏览器版本的提升。

    再就是说到字体的问题,确实。在微软雅黑出现之前,网页上的汉字基本都是12或14的宋体。又加上行距比较狭窄,网页的美观也会大打折扣。不过,随着WIN7在中国的逐渐普及,我相信网页上的微软雅黑会逐渐多起来的。

    虽然我还只是个学生,但是一直很关注UCDChina,从里面的文章,我看到了中国Web设计的进步。

    I’ve finshed reading the article with a e-dictionary beside.I didn’t realize the author is a Chinese until I learnt about the introduction of the author.How wonderful the author’s English is!

    I have paid attention to UCDChina for about half a year.And I’ve learnt more and more concepts.Your article helps refreshing my mind.Indeed,I thought the Flash is abused in Chinese websites before reading the article.Usually,I like having a look at foreign websites,whose design is wonderful.In addition,fewer Flash appear in the websites.Maybe a phase can not be ignored.Certainly,I haven’t denied the essential of Flash.

    In my opinion,there is a reason why so much Flash appears in Chinese website.While most of Chinese netizens rely on IE 6.0, which has been abandoned abroad.Considering it’s less support to the latest CSS,many developers and designers think it secure to present Flash.As we all konw,future is getting ready for the times of HTML5+CSS3.0.But the editions of browsers shoud be improved at first.

    Now,let me talk about the fontsize and fontstyle of Chinese characters. Nearly all the Chinese characters are “songti” of 12 or 14 before “Microsoft yahei” appears. And the line-with is narrow.The two points make a bad effect on the beauty of websites.However,I’m sure more and more “Microsoft yahei” would appear on the websites along with the dissemination of Windows 7 in China.

    Although I am a student in college, I pay much attention to UCDChina.I have learnt the advance of Chinese website design.

    (I haven’t written in English for a long time, maybe there are some errors above. Thank you for reading!)

  155. 183

    much needed article.

    re FLASH usage in Chinese sites — wonder if it is a passing fad? in the evolution to more elvated experiences

  156. 184

    I’m writing an essay and find out the article,so excited!! Thanks SM~~
    PS:I love the desk game ,Sanguosha is really popular in China.
    我爱百度,支持国货~~

  157. 185

    Chinese websites suck full stop. I get dizzy. They bombard the user with an indigestible mass of text. In China everything is like this. Watch TV, and see how they run the same commercial 2 or 3 times during the same break. All this flash animations to catch your attention are plain annoying and distracting. It’s no wonder most office workers in China with web access spend most of the time chatting on QQ…

  158. 186

    And I hate flash websites because they take ages to load.

  159. 187

    I am a western web designer living in Beijing, and found this a great read. As Someone else mentioned above who is in a similar situation, most of my clients here are foreigners and expect western design standards.

    As xunzhiyou mentioned IE 6 is still the majority browser in China, which means a lot of non-flash based animating and interactive techniques used in the west cannot be achieved as smoothly.

    Another driving force in the copy-cat mentality of design here is that Chinese budgets are often very small, which means that copying something else that works is much faster (cheaper) than developing a new concept. This mentality is thought of as safer and less risky. This was a big topic at Tech Cruch Disrupt this year in Beijing.

    In terms oh mobile devices – Android based mobile devices also rein in popularity which have no problem displaying flash. The cost of Android systems and open source framework mean that its popularity is not about to slow down.

    Something else that is interesting to note is that Chinese banking sites and the monopoly on-line marketplace Tao Bao, only allow the use of PC machines for transactions. So there are a lot of limitations in the industry that the west does not face.

    I saw some comments above mentioned they were looking for Chinese font solutions. My team just released an experimental WordPress plugin for Chinese web safe fonts. It’s called WP SinoType.
    It’s not a seamless solution – as Darryl mentioned above there are only 2 completely ‘web safe’ fonts, although this plugin focuses on providing a stack of fonts giving a Mac safe, PC safe, and English font. I am looking to build a discussion on Chinese web-safe fonts here, so feel free to join in and give your twocents (localized pun intended…) ;-)

  160. 188

    Very happy to see a post on Chinese web design!
    I remember the flashy, slow, ad/text cluttered websites that I’ve seen growing up. It was one of the reasons why I am majoring in communication design. I’m proud that China has developed its own style now :)
    A lot of western designers do not understand the various aesthetic decisions in Chinese design and I think this article really opens the style and mindset of Chinese designers up to others.

    Love the post SM!

  161. 189

    Chinese designers are designing for IE6, not the modern ones.

    Poor FEDs.

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