The majority of Chinese Internet users are under the age of 30 years old, like to play games and use the Internet for entertainment purposes. You will usually see a lot of visually interesting web designs that intend to target this group of users.
At first web designers in china would make their websites using Flash. It would all be about colourful and flashy visuals. This was because the designers were imitating Korean websites and their use of Flash; the majority of Korean websites were made in this way. Chinese designers and business owners considered this the fashion and were quick to copy this style. A lot of Chinese websites were usually cluttered and very busy with loads of information being shown to the user at once. Usually there’s not much user centred design either.
However China are steadily moving away from this style of web design as users are starting to explore content more rather than just the visuals. They want useful and helpful content, rather than the overwhelming visuals they are use to.
Since China is such a large country, it can sustain itself when it comes to web design and does not need to go international. Majority of Chinese sites don’t even have an English version, even in their navigation. This makes China sort of separate from the rest of the world when it comes to the web.
How the Chinese interact with their websites differs from the way we would. The Chinese language is made up from hieroglyphic characters unlike the English language. This means that typing can be slow and not very efficient when trying to navigate through a website. This could play a part in why the web pages are usually so busy with text, images and links as users would mainly have to visually spot what they were looking for and click their way through the site. Here is an example of a gaming website:
As you can see there is no search bar, so navigating through this site relies on the visuals. This could cause difficulties to users who may have visual impairments.
Western designers who are designing a website for the Chinese users try to bring Chinese style into their websites. Here is a good example of this:
These two different websites are for the same company, Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut US focuses more on online ordering where Pizza Hut China focuses more on showing a bit of culture and happy family’s. Also In the US one there is and input bar where the user can type into where as in the Chinese one there isn’t. This is a good example of the different interaction between Chinese users and US. The colour scheme of the Chinese website is the warm red and yellow colours that’s associated with traditional Chinese culture. The American one also uses reds, but the reds are much darker and colder. I personally prefer the Chinese one, even though I can’t read mandarin, it just looks more visually appealing to me.
Chinese web design is definitely unique and in a league of its own. I think culture and habits of the Chinese people play a huge part in that. China has loads of opportunities with its big market, intelligent people and its increase in innovative and user centred design thinking. China is making design one of the countries main priorities, by putting a lot of money into their design education. It will definitely be one of the leaders in web design In the future.