China has had a great deal of influence in many disciplines around the world, from textiles to architecture and pottery to animation. Sadly though, China has had very little influence in the field of Interactive Design and is only just beginning to work into the world of influential web design. Because of the many political issues involving access to information on the world wide web in China, the country was very late to get in the game. As such, China’s influence in the web based and interactive media is severely limited.
Due to the fact that little to no digital interaction of note is being produced in China or has been in the past by Chinese designers, there are sadly no ways for China to have innovated under this discipline. And as such, Chinese culture and the Chinese style isn’t at all a part of digital interaction design or web based design around the world. The more the world (and so China) develops and grows, the more of an industry for Chinese made and influenced web based design grows. It’s a small but growing industry due to the legal issues surrounding the access to world wide information. Also, now that Hong Kong is officially a part of China once again, the country has gained a fairly sizeable foothold as many great web designers and design companies reside in the great city
That being said, there are several very influential web designers based around the rest of China. Since they have moved towards the web, more and more fantastic web designers have been springing up such as this one: doopaa.cn, (Upon Interaction and Design) who are part of the East Pai Interactive Technology Company Ltd. a high-end web design and interaction company based in Tianjin, the company also has a branch in Beijing.
The company have designed many web pages, ranging from traditional to modern, Cartoon-y to more serious. Upon Interactive and Design is a very diverse company when it comes to the style of page and the design, but typically tend to focus around traditional Chinese style and culture, using recognizable Chinese imagery such as the warriors on horse-back and the ferocious looking dragon, even taking inspiration from classic Chinese cobalt work pottery. This site, made by Upon, is the first part in a series of three animation based websites made for their own company to promote themselves. Each of the three in the East Pai Series have received high praise from Chinese design consultancies about the quality of their work. Not only do each of these sites entertain you from the aesthetic perspective, but Upon make sure to fully immerse the viewer in the sights and sounds of their pieces.
As a commonality between many Chinese made websites, a large number of designers use Flash in many aspects of the site. Flashps.com is another one of them, along with the three Doopaa.cn sites for the East Pai Series. Adobe flash may be common place amongst Chinese web developers, and often times, flash can be a hassle for anyone without the correct and updated version. Despite this, designers around the world, not only in China are using the tool to their advantage.
EightBridge.com are a world wide known web design company who have done work for hundreds of world wide big name companies while having their main office in Beijing, China. EightBridge are one of the few big Chinese design companies for work for English speaking countries and companies, and as such, bring in a lot of business. Another company working for English speaking companies is Pixology Studios, also based in Beijing. Pixology might be a small company, but with the growth of China’s stake in web based and interactive design, they are bound to take off into the world of web.
Even the Chinese versions of English speaking companies, like the Nokia.cn site uses flash animation to create a fully immersive and interactive section of the site.
China might be late getting into the game, but the level of determination and grit these companies, and freelance Chinese web designers are showing quite clearly show us that they will do their upmost to catch up with the rest of the world. Through the coming years I fully expect to see many more web based and interaction designers coming from China, and I look forward to seeing what they will produce and how.