Design Everyone Loves Everywhere (speaker notes)

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Information about Design Everyone Loves Everywhere (speaker notes)

Published on March 11, 2014

Author: elizabethannjensen



Cultural design aesthetics have become less isolated and influence each other to evolve a global design standard as technology spreads. Differences between countries in aesthetics and interactions continue to meld. What is the future of international design? How can we design an experience that people feel connected to and love regardless of their location?


What are the differences and similarities in web design preferences around the world? ! How have these changed as the web has become more pervasive? ! What is the cultural basis for differences in design preferences? I became discouraged initially during my research because on the surface I wasn’t finding any differences, and everyone seemed to value the same type of designs. The more I dug into it, the more I realized everything was the same because everyone was copying the same things.

We are following international trends instead of creating new and better proposals. We missed our identity as a country. “ Miguel Calderon Group W In the Smashing Magazine article showcasing Mexican design, one of the Mexican designer described it well, “What happened with traditional design years ago is happening with Web design today: we are following international trend instead of creating new and better proposals. We missed our identity as a country.” ! When countries mimic designs instead of drawing on the traditions of their cultures and modernizing them, we lose the potential for innovation. ! Source:

Source: Popular Science, “How the Internet Has Spread Around the World” In 1991, the World Wide Web wasn’t really world wide. The world’s 5 million users were only in 12 countries and 70% were from the United States. With such a heavy hand in the early days of the Internet, the U.S. played a dominant role in defining the design standards. ! By 2010, more than 2 billion people, about one third of the global population, had access to the internet. Now less than 10% of Internet users live in the U.S. ! If we don’t start thinking more about the other 90%, we are going to loose relevancy and business. ! Statistics source:

Globalization has changed us into a company that searches the world, not just to sell or to source, but to find intellectual capital - the world's best talents and greatest ideas. “ Jack Welch GE CEO, 1981-2001 Image source:

TODAY TOMORROW • Overall approaches • Typography, color, metaphors • Usability • Disruptions and turning points • Where innovation will come from Image source:

GOING GLOBAL TODAY Image source: There are two extremes to going global 1. Basic translation (minimal effort) 2. Hyper localization (maximum effort)

Solution 1 - Basic translation ! The first solution involves basic translation of the content and flipping the elements in the UI when the reading direction changes. This is an attempt at being “global” but isn’t local. It still works for Facebook, but Facebook will lose it’s edge quickly if it doesn’t adapt. ! Human and computer translation are both options, but computer translation is usually more affordable. The accuracy of computer translation can be unreliable, and it can miss context clues, resulting confusing or inappropriate text. (I’m not sure which one Facebook uses.) ! Downfalls of the flip and translate approach: 1. The UI has not been tested or optimized for different cultures. Content may even be harder to consume in the user’s native language. Users may develop hacks to get around the poor design and never use the localized version created for them. (Morocco: French and Arabic) 2. Important details are often missed (truncation happens on the wrong side of the word, details outlined in red above)

Solution 2 - Hyper Localization ! McDonald’s has more than 150 localized websites, which allows for extreme local customization and different cultures usability preferences. ! McDonald’s maintains its brand image by keeping the golden arch in the top left corner. But almost every other part of the designs can change based on country. ! Source: “Non-universal usability?: a survey of how usability is understood by Chinese and Danish users” 2009 For more info:

For example, a study by the University of Copenhagen comparing Chinese and Danish users found that the Chinese users favored visual appearance, satisfaction, and fun; whereas, Danish users favored effectiveness, efficiency, and lack of frustration more. ! In order to appear more environmentally friendly in some European countries, McDonald’s has exchanged it’s traditional red for a dark green. ! Source: “Non-universal usability?: a survey of how usability is understood by Chinese and Danish users” 2009 For more info:

BBC is a happy medium between Facebook and McDonalds. It takes into account the way the different languages flow on the page and adjusts the layout for best readability. By not overextending itself, BBC maintains quality on every version of its site.

Chinese An interesting thing to note is how much more simple and clean this looks with out the glaring ads on the American version of the site.


[Our regional identity] is the language in which we dream and laugh, the language of our exasperations and tears. For most of us, this language is not English, and quite likely it is not written with the Latin script. “ Gerry Leonidas Typographica According to a 2011 study of European Union Internet users, 90% preferred viewing a website in their native language. ! So people want to see content at the same level of quality in there local languages. In order to do that, designers need to customize styles to increase legibility: ! • CHARACTER STYLE: Bold, italics, thin… character styles are not universal. For example, with the complexity of some non-Latin scripts, bold text may dilute the distinctive features of the type form and make it illegible in certain font-families. • LINK COLORS: Likewise, with more dense and complex languages, changing the color of links can create too much visual noise. Designers should consider less intense hues than they may use in English. • LINE LENGTH: In Asian texts, English words can sometimes be represented by a character or two. But in other languages like German, words often contain several more characters in than their English counterparts. It’s important for designers to think about how the UI will flex with changes in line length. • LINE HEIGHT: With more complex Asian languages, line height needs to be increased to make the page more legible. • FONT SIZE: With some languages, like Arabic, designers need to make the font size bigger or else the letters may become indistinguishable from each other.

Talk about what they did right

Image source: Color is subjective. Different colors can symbolize different emotions, concepts and sacred purposes in different cultures. (See above.) For example yellow can represent joy, happiness, betrayal, optimism, idealism, imagination, hope, sunshine, summer, philosophy, dishonesty, cowardice, jealousy, covetousness, deceit, illness, hazard, and friendship depending on culture and context. ! However… ! In a paper from the University of Illinois, researcher combined findings from 23 color studies and found there are some general trends in color use internationally: Red is best for grabbing attention. White, green and blue are positive. Yellow, white and gray are weak. Black and red are strong. Black and gray are passive and red is active. Brighter colors are more positive but less powerful. ! Let nature be your guide.

I do not think it means! what you think it means… Icon and UI metaphors can be another aspect of the design that requires special attention when preparing to globalize a design. ! Thumbs up can be offensive in the Middle East. People’s homes all look different when thinking about “home” icons in a UI. ! Make sure to user test icons!

USABILITY = LESS OBVIOUS Image source: A study by Korean industrial designers found noticeable differences between Western and Eastern thinkers by examining how Chinese, Korean, and Americans processed a web page. The Chinese and Korean users tended to scan and process the page holistically. Whereas, the American participants spent more time reading and analyzing the content and navigation. ! Some of the findings were: • 7 out of 9 of the American participants tended to read the website in sequential patterns. • Chinese and Korean participants were more likely to scan back and forth between sections of the design in a circular pattern. This implies they were randomly scanning the page instead of reading carefully. • The American participants were also likely to focus on the page title and to read the navigation bar, while few of the Chinese or Korean participants did so. ! Source:

GEERT HOFSTEDE’S CULTURAL DIMENSIONSImage source: Geert Hofstede is a Dutch cultural anthropologist and psychologist. In the 1970s he collected more than 100,000 data points on IBM employees in 53 counties. With the information he collected, he developed 5 cultural dimensions that can act as a framework as we analyze the differences between cultures. ! Source: Source: “HFI UX Design Newsletter: Cross-Cultural Considerations for User Interface Design” by Nehal Shah Source: “Global UX: Design and Research in a Connected World” by Whitney Quesenbery and Daniel Szu

Power Distance ! ! ! Image source: Cultures range from relatively equal to extremely unequal. ! High power distance countries are autocratic and accept hierarchy. Low power distance countries are more democratic. ! Low: New Zealand, Denmark, Austria High: Malaysia, Guatemala, Panama ! Source: Source: “HFI UX Design Newsletter: Cross-Cultural Considerations for User Interface Design” by Nehal Shah Source: “Global UX: Design and Research in a Connected World” by Whitney Quesenbery and Daniel Szu

Power Distance Individualism ! ! Image source: Cultures range from collectivist to individualist. ! Individualist societies value personal achievements and uniqueness. Collectivist societies, on the other hand, emphasize group affiliation and loyalty. ! Low: Panama, Ecuador, Guatemala, China High: United States, Australia, United Kingdom ! Source: Source: “HFI UX Design Newsletter: Cross-Cultural Considerations for User Interface Design” by Nehal Shah Source: “Global UX: Design and Research in a Connected World” by Whitney Quesenbery and Daniel Szu

Power Distance Individualism Uncertainty Avoidance ! Image source: Cultures range from relatively flexible to extremely ridged. ! Counties with high uncertainty avoidance prefer structured situations. They avoid ambiguity and uncertainty. Countries with low score here are more flexible and do not mind unstructured scenarios. ! Low: Sweden, Denmark, Jamaica, Singapore, Germany, United Kingdom High: Greece, Portugal, Guatemala ! Source: Source: “HFI UX Design Newsletter: Cross-Cultural Considerations for User Interface Design” by Nehal Shah Source: “Global UX: Design and Research in a Connected World” by Whitney Quesenbery and Daniel Szu

Power Distance Individualism Uncertainty Avoidance Masculinity Image source: Cultures range from tender to tough. ! Masculine cultures are described as competitive, assertive, and materialistic. Feminine cultures exhibit more warmth, caring, and solidarity. More feminine cultures put a stronger emphasis on quality of life and relationships and can blur gender roles. ! Low: Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden High: Japan, Hungary, Austria ! Source: Source: “HFI UX Design Newsletter: Cross-Cultural Considerations for User Interface Design” by Nehal Shah Source: “Global UX: Design and Research in a Connected World” by Whitney Quesenbery and Daniel Szu

Power Distance Individualism Uncertainty Avoidance Masculinity Indulgence Image source: Cultures range from long to short-term orientation. ! Long-term oriented cultures value saving, persistence, and traditions. Sort-term oriented society favor more immediate gratification. ! Low: United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela High: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Switzerland ! The practice of applying Hofstede’s principles to design is not without critics because it conflates nationality with culture, initially focuses on IBM employees only, and focuses on management and not design. ! Source: Source: “HFI UX Design Newsletter: Cross-Cultural Considerations for User Interface Design” by Nehal Shah Source: “Global UX: Design and Research in a Connected World” by Whitney Quesenbery and Daniel Szu

80 40 20 91 66 62 30 46 24 68 Uncertainty Avoidance IndulgenceIndividualism MasculinityPower Distance CHINA U.S. Image source:Flickr James Cridland Power Distance and indulgence areas for potential innovation: • EXPERTISE LOCATION: Higher value on relationships and credibility in searching for information, stronger focus on expertise, authority, official stamps and logos. () • GOVERNANCE: Innovation around governance because there is more value in the distinction between user roles such as a manager compared to a non- manager. ! Individualism: • GAMIFICATION: Instead of tracking personal achievements, more UIs may track the achievements of groups. (online learning) • SOCIAL NETWORKING: Less focus on my identity online (i.e. Facebook profile) and innovation around sites emphasize groups (i.e. Meetup). ! Source: Source: “HFI UX Design Newsletter: Cross-Cultural Considerations for User Interface Design” by Nehal Shah

SO… WHAT’S NEXT? Image source: Back to the Future

Internet users in 2012 as a percent of the population Image source: International Telecommunication Union It may take a while, but what happens this entire map starts to get darker and all countries get equal access to the Internet?

What happens when countries that have typically been consumers of internet and mobile content start to become producers? ! Programs like teach the basics of coding in an hour. Although primarily focused on education in the US, they’ve had students in 356 countries. This is a shot from their promotional video with a girl standing in front of Azadi Tower in Iran saying she’s just finished 42 lines of code. ! When more cultures switch from being consumers and copiers of application and web design to become innovative producers, design is going to change. Cultures with different ways of organizing information, communicating, expressing themselves, and making transactions will introduce new interaction patterns to the internet and inspire innovation world wide.

Images source: Example 1: Picasso’s exposure to West African art ! In May or June 1907, Picasso visited the the ethnographic museum at Palais du Trocadéro and was exposed to African art. The mask to the left is an example of what he might have seen there. He experienced a “revelation” and the was drawn the spirituality in the art. The painting on the left he had started in May of 1907 but reworked after in July that year after his revelation. ! Picasso realized art was more than the decorative shapes and naturalism that had dominated Western art since the Renaissance. The true purpose of the painter was to balance perceived reality with the creativity of the human mind. Picasso’s work began to take on pictorial flatness, more vivid color palettes, and fragmented Cubist shapes all of which helped to define early modernism. ! Source:

Images source: In the 1960s, the young German industrial designer Dieter Rams began creating iconic designs for Braun. He used his experiences to craft the “10 Principles of Good Design.” The principles describe good design as unobtrusive, honest, aesthetic, innovative, and so on. ! Full list: Good design… Is Innovative . Makes a product useful. Is aesthetic. Makes a product understandable. Is unobtrusive. Is honest. Is long-lasting. Is thorough down to the last detail. Is environmentally friendly. Is as little design as possible.

Images source: They have influenced and guided many industrial designers since then. For example, several Apple products are remarkably similar to Rams’ work and surely his principles influenced Jony Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design. ! Special thanks to: Stephan Feger Source:

Line uses two of its most famous sticker characters in a advertisement in Spain. ! Stickers originated in 2011 when Korea’s top Internet company Naver developed Line in Japan. In the home of anime, the stickers, a combination of cartoons and emojis, quickly became a quirky and fun way for people to express themselves. Not to mention it is much quicker than tapping out Japanese Kanji which can be difficult to input on a phone. They have become so popular that stickers are now put on billboards, appear in anime cartoons, and sold as stuffed animals in stores. ! Line sells the stickers for $1 to $2 a pack and announced that in the first quarter of 2013 they made more than $17 million on stickers. ! American companies like Facebook and Path have incorporated stickers into their applications too. Path made more money in the day 24 hours after launching stickers than it had previously any day before. ! Source:!yVHKT ! Video link:

Image source: Another example of an influx of innovation into the global design scene is Oded Ezer’s typography. His work has pushed the boundaries of Hebrew alphabet which was invented for writing or printing the Torah. Hebrew fonts fall into three genres, each with it’s own source of inspiration: tradition, Latin fonts, and something detached, different (like nature or science). Oded’s experimentation focuses on the third type. ! Oded’s innovation has spread and inspired around the world as his work has been featured at museums like the New York Museum of Modern Art. He’s taught typography at Rhode Island School of Design and led workshops in multiple countries. ! Source: ! Source:

Image source: I think English is boring, and other languages and writing systems are utterly important for the mainstream – which is English now – because they bring some fresh air! “ Oded Ezer “Keeping and experimenting in my own language is one of the most important things I can bring into the mainstream.” ! Eventually, he thinks, people will grow tired of seeing everything in English and desire more design in their native languages. ! Source:

Image source: CHINESE INNOVATION In recent years, China has announced and pushed forward plans outlining its intent to become a global leader in innovation. By 2020 China wants to be considered an “innovative society” and a leader in science and technology by 2050, according to the 2006 “Medium- to Long-Term Plan for the Development of Science and Technology.” ! Source:

This year, for the first time in history, ! in R&D spending intensity. Image source:! CHINA HAS SURPASSED EUROPE A report from Battelle Memorial Institute predicts R&D spending in China will reach $284 billion this year. Since 2012, China’s R&D spending has increased 22% while the United States spending has only increased 4%. China is expected to surpass Europe in dollars spent by 2018 and the United States by 2022. ! Source: ! Source:

China could produce more than 1.75 million graduates with design training in the next 10 years. DON’T DWELL ON THIS SLIDE!!!!!! ! Chinese Ministry of Education’s official Web site listed 1,125 schools with art and design departments in 2007. There are 8 times as many industrial design programs as there are in the United States and China graduates . In the 1980s there were fewer that 10 industrial design programs, but that number has grown to more than 400 today. Most of those programs have been around for 15 years or less. ! The 640 million Chinese people under the age of 30 have grown up in an environment that’s required them to be competitive for their education, jobs, salaries, partners, and apartments. This competitiveness could trigger a more innovative mindset, according to Lorraine Justice in “China’s Design Revolution.” ! NYT ( There are about 8 million community college and university graduates every year in china. China has quadrupled that number in the past decade so it now exceeds the US but not as a percentage of the population. The US produces about 3 million graduates every year. China expects to have nearly 195 million community college and university graduates at the end of the decade — compared with no more than 120 million in the United States then. !

China is now the largest market in the world for design education. “ Lorraine Justice China’s Design Revolution Image source: Quantity does not mean quality. Although the design education programs are improving in China, there are still hurdles. 1. Bureaucratic red tape 2. Intellectual dishonesty 3. The exodus of the most talented students to study and work abroad 4. An emphasis on rote learning over creativity, although the emphasis is fading 5. There are not enough experienced design instructors. Most design classes are taught by engineers and artists. ! After WWII, Japan ramped up a similar educational effort. It strengthened the middle class and pushed the economy to become what it is today. But because in Japanese culture fitting in is more prized than standing out, Japan hit an economic plateau. The same could happen in China. ! Source: ! Source: “China’s Design Revolution” by Lorraine Justice

New forms of social networking: ! WeChat, created by Chinese startup TenCent, is a all-in-one social networking, e-commerce platform. Some of the features include group chat, content sharing, payments, and newly added gaming. ! Shake and message in the bottle put an emphasis on connecting with the group of people around you. ! WeChat has more than: 272 million monthly active users 100 million user accounts outside China 100 million downloads on Google Play internationally (as of Feb. 25, 2014) Source:!yTBIr ! WeChat not only has innovative social networking features but is also pushing boundaries of e-commerce.

While we do see many universal similarities in consumer needs, there are also unique nuances in user behavior, habits and sentiments in each market. “ Poshu Yeung Tencent Vice President International Business Image source: Poshu Yeung, VP of Tencent's international group, WeChats growth potential is greatest in areas “which tend to have more expressive cultures and like to be socially connected.” ! It has received particularly positive user feedback from Italy, Latin America, India and Southeast Asia. WeChat is on 90 percent of smart phones in Malaysia and more than 50 percent of smartphones in Indonesia. It is also doing well in Hong Kong and Taiwan. ! WeChat is prioritizing identifying and working with local partners in other markets to make their product more global. ! Source: ! Image source: ! ! !

Image source: WeChat is monitoring social networking in a way other social networking sites have yet to harness. ! Some of the most recent viral campaigns on WeChat include red envelope gifting and malignant tumor insurance. It is a tradition to exchange red envelops filled with money with your family and friends as well-wishes on the eve of Chinese New Year. ! After attaching your banking information to the app, users could send money directly to another person or could send a lump sum to a group that would be randomly divided amongst the group members. More than 20 million envelopes were sent in the first two days and 5 million users participated. ! This not only shows how an app can successfully bridged the gap between old traditions but also how these traditions can easily be spread outside of China. ! Another viral campaign to get customers to link their banking account information to WeChat is Malignant Cancer Insurance. It started hitting the news last week. ! If you are 18-39, you pay RMB 1 (6 cents) for RMB 1,000 ($162) of coverage.

If you are 18-39, you pay RMB 1 (6 cents) for RMB 1,000 ($162) of coverage. ! You get an additional RMB 1,000 of coverage for every friend that registers by clicking on the promotion in your stream. ! You could accumulate up to RMB 10,000 ($16,000) in malignant tumor insurance. Image source: Hit the news March 5,2014. ! Since malignant tumors are affect a small percentage of 18-39 year-olds, the scheme is more promotional than anything and is unlikely to have any deep impacts on the Chinese Insurance Industry. ! Source: Image Source:

Article link: ! Also…. ! In Frog Design’s 2014 tech trends, Steve Boswell predicts WeChat will grow it’s user base outside of China and unseat Facebook. He predicts it will “also disrupt the enterprise communications, financial services, and retail industries on a large scale” with it’s e-commerce functionality. ! Source:

Intsig’s Camcard: Innovation around expertise ! The app has 50 million registered users and 10 million monthly active users, with half of them outside of China. ! Marketing Director Louisa Cao said, “A lot of people are surprised when they find out we’re a Chinese company. It helps that exchanging business cards is much more ritualized and formal in China and Japan than it is in the West, so that gives startups in Asia a competitive edge on understanding what consumers want in a product in this area.” ! Source:

Image source: “ Phil Libin CEO Evernote We’re in China because I firmly believe that China will be the crucible of innovation over the next decade. In order to stay competitive, Western companies are realizing they need to build design studios a broad. ! Launched in 2012, the Chinese offering of Evernote (Yinxiang Biji) had 4 million users in China in 2013. ! IBM is opening a design studio in Shanghai. ! Source:

TODAY TOMORROW • Overall approaches • Typography, color, metaphors • Usability • Disruptions and turning points • Where innovation will come from Image source: YESTERDAY • Spread of the Internet

• Start designing for globalization from the beginning • Build a diverse design team • Connect with designers in other parts of the world • Expand your go-to list of inspiration sources • User test internationally MAKING DESIGN EVERYONE LOVES Image source:Flickr James Cridland


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