A Cross-cultural Review
Stanford University | firstname.lastname@example.org
Dalian Maritime University | email@example.com
March + April 2008
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How many mobile phones does the average South
Korean have? What is the rage among Chinese
websites designed for young people? Do we need
to design different products for different cultures,
or simply localize our existing line?
Everyone in the HCI community faces the barrage of information heralding the implications
of globalization on designers and researchers.
At the same time, Chinese designers attempt to
assimilate Western thinking into the design of
local products. uiGarden (http://www.uigarden.
net), a Chinese-operated webzine, was developed
to address these two needs, as proclaimed in their
s "RING THE NEWEST 7ESTERN RESEARCH AND DEVEL-
opment to China.
s "ECOME A BRIDGE ;FOR= THE 7ESTERN ;(#)= COM-
munity [to understand] Eastern culture.
Founder Christina Li says that her goal, beyond
the mission statement, “is very straightforward:
When people think about usability and user-experience design in China, I want the first word
that comes into their mind to be uiGarden.” Li
started the site in 2004. She says for the month of
November 2007, “we had more than 31,000 page
views in total, and on average more than 500
unique visitors every day. Visitors came from 105
countries around the world. About 56 percent of
them came from China, 18 percent from the U.S.
and the UK, and 26 percent from the rest of the
world. Most of them are UX practitioners or students.” uiGarden clearly has an audience in China.
Each month uiGarden publishes Chinese and
English versions of a few well-chosen articles,
usually written by Westerners or Chinese-Americans. These are either original articles for
uiGarden or are reprinted from appropriate journals or conference proceedings such as CHI or
DUX. These are not just cursory blog posts commenting on the latest trend or cultural difference
in using technology; they are thoughtful pieces
on myriad topics of interest to the audience.
The topics and articles selected reflect the new-est development in usability and UI design and
provide new thoughts and concepts. The articles
help Chinese readers to broaden their view and
to be aware of trends in this field. The content is
easy to read, with many examples from daily life,
which help readers gain a better understanding of
Examples of recent uiGarden articles include:
s h4HE 'AP "ETWEEN 3ECONDS AND
Seconds”—a comparison of the design of a
Chinese-brand air-conditioning unit to its
Japanese cousin shows the evolving nature of
usability in Chinese products.
s h-EANING OF #HOPSTICKS IN !SIAv&(!!#x88!!);A DISCUSSION
on the intricacies of chopsticks in Asia, and how
these relate to cultural values and norms.
s h$ESIGN FOR %MOTION 2EADY FOR THE .EXT
Decade?”—an article on emotive product design
showing how Chinese porcelain has evolved cer-
tain emotive characteristics.
s h'LOBAL -ARKET 'LOBAL %MOTION 'LOBAL
Design?”—a discussion of attempts to identify a
“global experience” and designing “global” products suggesting that, until context is sufficiently
shared (through media, movies, virtual worlds,
and so on), the “global experience” will remain
For Chinese readers, uiGarden provides an
opportunity to read articles in their native language, gleaning greater and subtler meaning than
if read in English. For Western readers, uiGarden is useful in that it acts as a highly targeted
publication whose readers might be pleasantly