The influence of culture on UX: Asian and Western

Culture can be one of the critical elements to user experience (UX) of the new technologies (app, websites etc.), when enterprise wants to extend their marketing to other countries. These culture differences make people cannot understand each other in some situations.

The influence of the Chinese (Asian) Culture and the West Culture on E-commerce websites can be a good example.

Taobao (http://www.taobao.com 淘宝) which is the most popular C2C e-commerce website in China. The image below shows the homepage of Taobao:

The first impression for west people probably is that the homepage of Taobao is in a mess which has so many items and bright red colour on the homepage. It is just like the life in China: crowed almost everywhere, colourful (Ads, shops ect.), full of things without space on the street which Chinese are accustomed to.

The other example is the Chinese B2C website Jingdong (www.jd.com 京东商城):

The main colour of the website is red which means positive and joyful in China and it is different from West culture. However, I think the use of red colour as the main colour on the website is not a good decision as it is not accessible to the colour blind users. The accessibility is still an issue on most of the Chinese websites and enterprises have not realized the importance of accessibility.

However, both the crowed layout and the use of the red colour are the influence of the Chinese culture on the design of the e-commerce websites.

It is predicted that in 2020, the online retail sales will reach the amount 10 Trillion Yuan and represent 16% of Chinese retail sales (Source: ChinaInternwatch, AliResearch, iResearchChina). It indicates that west enterprises could get highly rewarding by extending their market to the Chinese market. However, in terms of culture difference, it takes time to achieve great user experience for customers who have totally different culture. The research on culture differences need to be conducted in advance.

Originally published on my company internal blog on January 21, 2014.

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