As the world’s largest market, China is always at the forefront of new trends – especially when it comes to web design. Chinese web design has always been known as being simple, clean, and efficient – but in the past years, there’s been a shift towards more creative and innovative designs.
Digital marketing in China has taken a leap forward in recent years, moving away from traditional advertising methods and towards more modern, interactive, and user-friendly methods. In fact, according to the “2022 China Digital Marketing Trend Report” by the Miaozhen Marketing Academy, the overall marketing expenses of businesses increased by 19% versus the previous year. Digital marketing in China is anticipated to grow at a similar rate as overall marketing investment, which will be lower than the actual growth of 22% in 2021.
To further understand how you can tap the Chinese market, let’s look at the differences in web design in China versus the West.
Chinese Web Design: What’s the Difference
There are several key differences between web design in China and the West. The most notable difference is that Chinese web designers tend to focus on simplicity and functionality, while Western designers tend to be more concerned with aesthetics and creativity.
Another major difference is that Chinese web designs are often heavily influenced by traditional Chinese culture, while Western designs are more likely to be influenced by Western pop culture. This is particularly evident in the use of colors and symbols. For example, Chinese web designers often use red and gold to symbolize luck and prosperity, while Western designers are more likely to use blue and white (the colors of the United States flag).
Finally, Chinese web designs tend to be more text-heavy than its Western counterparts. This is because Chinese is a more complex language than English and requires more text to convey the same meaning.
Chinese Website Navigation
One of the most note worthy differences between Chinese and Western websites is the way in which they are navigated. In the West, it is common for websites to have a horizontal navigation bar at the top of the page, with the main pages of the website listed in order from left to right.
In China, however, it is more common for websites to have a vertical navigation bar on the left-hand side of websites to have a vertical navigation bar. Chinese is a vertical language. Therefore, it makes more sense to list the main pages in this way.
It is also common for Chinese websites to have a search box prominently displayed on the homepage. This is because Chinese users are more likely to use a search engine to find the information they are looking for instead of navigating through the website itself.
Content structure is another key difference between Chinese and Western websites. Western websites are heavy on the whitespace and graphics to capture attention. Large page partitions are a standard on western websites and are categorically sorted so that users can scan quickly.
On the other hand, Chinese websites fully utilize page space for content. Information is broken down into smaller blocks, allowing users to browse through larger categories first and then choose which one to click and investigate further.
Western website designs have very long pages because of how their content is organized. For example, when Western websites use hyperlinks, instead of redirecting to another page, these often jump to tags within the same page.
The Chinese web design approach reduces page length and focuses on a single topic. As a result, the length of a Chinese website is generally less than two full-screen lengths.
The colors used on a website can tell you a lot about the culture it was designed for. For example, in China, the color red is considered to be lucky and is often used to symbolize good fortune. The color gold is also associated with luck and prosperity.
Green is another popular color in Chinese web design, as it represents growth and life. Blue and white are also common colors, as they are the colors of the Chinese flag.
In the West, blue is often used to represent trustworthiness and stability. The color green is generally used to symbolize growth and life. On the other hand, red is treated as a warning sign of danger.
Symbols heavily influence the Chinese culture. The most common symbols used in Chinese web design are dragons, phoenixes, and tigers. These animals are often seen as symbols of strength, power, and good luck.
Western web design is not as symbol-heavy as Chinese web design. However, the most common symbols used are the peace sign, the recycling symbol, and the heart.
Chinese Web Design Trends 2022
Here are 8 web design trends that we think will dominate in China in 2022:
As minimalist designs grow in popularity, more and more designers favor simplicity in their designs. This trend is especially popular among younger generations who are tired of older generations’ busy and cluttered designs.
2. Mobile-friendly and responsive designs
Since Chinese mobile browsing is expected to exceed desktop browsing in 2022, it is no surprise that mobile-friendly and responsive designs are becoming more popular. This trend makes websites easier to use on mobile devices and helps with search engine optimization.
3. Enhanced Tag Search Options
Users can find information faster by making tag search more accessible or even using voice search. The Chinese language is complex and has over 80,000 characters. Typing in Chinese characters can be more time-consuming when performing a simple search.
Using tags to organize content and provide options in the search box allows users to click instead of typing what they need. This makes the search and navigation process faster and smoother than typing an entire word or sentence.
Some Chinese websites also utilize voice search. But since China has many dialects and accents, this function may not be suitable for everyone.
4. More Homepage Videos
Videos are an excellent method to deliver a message or idea quickly and effectively as compared to reading lengthy website text. However, the video does not have to be lengthy, which may have an impact on loading speeds (especially on mobile).
Even a 20-second video can deliver the desired effect especially if it’s creative and well designed. It’s also worth noting that many videos on a website are used as a backdrop and looped. This saves loading time and allows the user to focus on the main message.
5. Intuitive and User-Friendly Navigation
This website design trend has been popular for a while and is not unique to China. However, it is worth monitoring as it is especially important for websites with a lot of content.
The navigation should be functional and easy to use so that users can find what they are looking for without difficulty. A common design mistake is to cram too many menu items into the navigation bar. This makes it difficult to find what you’re looking for and increases the chances of user error.
Storytelling is an effective way to engage users and keep them coming back for more. In addition, it allows designers to be creative with their designs and to create a connection with the user.
7. H5 pages
WeChat H5 pages are valuable assets for promotions and ad campaigns. They are basically web pages optimized for mobile devices. They can be shared on social media platforms such as WeChat and Weibo.
It’s a mobile website that developers can connect to the WeChat profile for dynamic campaigns. H5 provides a better user experience and allows you to add WeChat’s Shake feature to your site. It also aids in launching targeted marketing strategies.
However, it is required to have an official WeChat account so you can maximize the H5 pages’ features.
8. Gradients in branding and design elements
This design trend for websites has been around for a while but is expected to continue gaining popularity in China. Gradients can add depth and dimension to flat designs. They can also be used to create a sense of movement and energy.
Can I Use my Global Website to Attract the Chinese Market?
Well, it depends. If you’re targeting the Chinese market, it’s best to have a website that is hosted in China. This is because the Chinese government has strict censorship laws and your website may be blocked if it’s not hosted in China.
It’s also worth noting that many global companies have both a global website and a Chinese website. This allows brands to cater to both markets without compromising on content or design.
Some of the world’s biggest companies have separate Chinese versions of their websites, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Uber.
However, we do understand that maintaining two websites can get costly. If you’re a small business or start-up looking to expand your reach in China, then you may not have the resources to do this. At Cross Border Digital, we’ll help you find the best solution that suits your budget and needs.
If your resources are limited and may not be able to invest in a Chinese website, then you can try optimizing your global website for the Chinese market. This can be done by:
1. Selecting the right hosting provider
Many web hosting providers offer services specifically for China. Do some research and select a provider that can guarantee that the Chinese Firewall will not block your website.
2. Use a CDN
A content delivery network (CDN) is a system of computers that delivers content to users based on their geographic location. It’s a good idea to use a CDN when targeting the Chinese market to make your website load faster for Chinese users.
3. Translate your content into Mandarin Chinese
This is a no brainer if you want to attract the Chinese market. Your website should be translated into Mandarin Chinese so that users can understand what you’re offering. You can use Google Translate or hire a professional translator to do this.
4. Use Simplified Chinese
The vast majority of Chinese people use Simplified Chinese, so it’s essential to use this version on your website.
5. Optimize your website for mobile devices
Many Chinese people use their smartphones to access the internet, so optimizing your website for mobile devices is important. This includes making sure that your website loads quickly on mobile networks and that the design is responsive.
6. Pay attention to your website’s speed
The Chinese government has emphasized internet speed in recent years. Most Chinese users frown upon slow page loading times. So, make sure that your website is loading quickly to avoid losing potential customers.
7. Use the right website design
Your website should be designed with Chinese users in mind. This means using colors that are considered lucky in China, such as red and gold. You should also avoid using any symbols that may be considered offensive, such as skulls or crossbones.
The Chinese market is huge and has a lot of potential. Understanding China’s latest web design trends is a good way to start when planning to break into this market. But, of course, it’s also important to have a well-designed and user-friendly website that can cater to the needs of Chinese users.
These are some of the trends in web design that are popular in China. However, as you can see, many of these trends are also becoming popular in other countries.
What’s important is to keep an open mind and be willing to experiment with new ideas. The goal is to provide a better user experience and stay ahead of the competition.
If you need help designing your website for the Chinese market, reach out to us at Cross Border Digital. We would be happy to assist you.