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

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.

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!

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

    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.

    0
  2. 152

    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.

    -1
  3. 303

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

    1
  4. 454

    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!)

    0
  5. 605

    much needed article.

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

    0
  6. 756

    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~~

    0
  7. 907

    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…

    -3
  8. 1058

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

    0
  9. 1209

    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…) ;-)

    3
  10. 1360

    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!

    0
  11. 1511

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

    Poor FEDs.

    0

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