As we go global with FON and prepare for our 2007 look, a look that will go from emphasizing the FON revolution as we do now, to emphasizing the FON community features, we are running into difficulties with the way Chinese people show their web sites. Take a look at PC Home one of the most popular web sites in Taiwan and compare it say with Yahoo, one of the most popular in the world. When I do this I see a stylistic barrier, I see a clear difference in how web sites are designed for Chinese people compared to Americans or Europeans.
At FON we have decided not to try to “impose” our Western look in China. Instead, we are working with local designers who are readapting our look to appeal to Chinese people. The main difference between chinese sites and European/American sites seem to be the amount of information that the Chinese are able to digest in a home page. To me it is just unbelievable. We all know that Chinese writing is harder to learn. Tens of letters are an easier task than thousands of characters. But once the education has been completed it seems to me that the Chinese can process information faster than westerners when they read. I spent some time having PC Home translated and there´s just no way we could have had so much information in the site I built Ya.com, a very popular Spanish site that has already as much information as a Spanish person could possibly process.
In general terms I would say that Chinese sites have less icons, more writing, small pictures, and many ideas are represented more through mascots than icons. But then….what do I know? I am just trying to understand and do the best job to communicate FON in China and for this I rely on our Chinese managers who are doing an amazing job. Just go to FON’s maps in Hong Kong and see. Presently Korea and China are two of our four fastest growing countries in the world. We are launching the Fonera in Taiwan in 2 weeks.
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