Updated: Jul 21, 2021
Confusing, packed and busy? These are just some of the criticisms that a Westerner could use to describe Chinese websites. English and Chinese websites are substantially different, in more ways than just language.
So why have Chinese website designers decided to use a style far different from Western Web aesthetic standards? It's definitely cultural. Chinese netizens love to browse through large amounts of information, indeed LESS is not MORE on the Chinese internet.
A good example? Taobao
Taobao is one of the most famous e-commerce platforms in China with more than 750 million monthly active users. Chinese shoppers can access plenty of good deals and affordable products with a touch on their phones. Merchants
on Taobao are primarily individuals and small businesses, they are more than 10 million of them.
Taobao is merely a digital version of a physical mall where you can browse through many shops in order to figure out what to buy. Consider it as the perfect spot for a virtual shopping session when you commute.
In the book ‘6 Billion Shoppers’ Porter Erisman said that Chinese consumers’ eyes typically skipped around the entire website as if looking for little surprises and visual stimulation. Consumers don’t just want to shop online – they want to be entertained while doing it. That's why 2 key trends are radically changing Chinese e-commerce today, by adding entertainment to the shopping session: social buying and live commerce.
A study from Millward Brown found 68% of Chinese respondents are “happy or overjoyed” with their shopping experiences, compared with only 48% of American. "The feeling that shopping is an enjoyable pastime rather than a chore is much stronger among Chinese consumers than Americans or Brits", according to a report from the research firm.
That's why a content-rich platform seems more user-friendly for Chinese consumers who are looking for a digital experience.
Contrast this with Westerners who go on Amazon to look for a product they already want to buy. A minimalist website would be more helpful.
2 different online shopping philosophies, 2 different types of websites UX/UI.