On Asia’s Biggest Web Design Trends

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While perusing our visitor analytics a few weeks ago we noticed a large chunk of our traffic here at Web Design Boom comes from users based in Asia. This got us thinking about the similarities and differences in web design trends across the globe, so today our post is focusing on the established and emerging design trends in Asia. In particular, we’re going to look at the trends that are prevalent in China, where the industry is growing at such a rapid rate.

It’s been really interesting to see the diversity in trends across the globe, so here’s what we discovered.

Responsive design hasn’t swept through China in quite the same way it has elsewhere. Rather than ensuring each website is designed to look beautiful on each and every device, one of the popular trends in China is to create separate websites for each device. It’s an interesting thought and, while it surely takes longer to create the different sites, could the final result be more effective than one responsive design?

It’s been apparent for a few years now that mobile browsing is majorly on the up, and with Google’s changes earlier this year to give priority to mobile-friendly sites, ensuring your site is mobile-friendly is a key factor for most designers. In China, however, they’ve taken things one step further and are starting to look towards mobile-only sites.

It’s a move that might not be echoed throughout the globe but it makes perfect sense in China, as their statistics about internet use via mobile devices goes to show. In June last year over 83% of Chinese users accessing the internet did so through thier mobile phones, making it the first time the amount of mobile users surpassed PC users (lagging behind at just over 80%).

In keeping with the mobile-only approach, many businesses are creating mini sites with HTML5 that are known as ‘light apps’. These light apps are single page sites that convey a simple, targeted message and are only meant to be consumed once or twice – the hope is that they’ll be shared amongst friends and the message will be spread that way. These sites often won’t even function on desktops, making light apps a concrete step towards mobile only browsing.

While commercial sites produced in the rest of the world are usually targeted towards profits and ecommerce, Chinese mobile sites and light apps are focused around sharing instead of monetisation. It’s a call to action with a difference, but it appears to be very effective and is showing vast growth, rather than slowing down.

It’s always fascinating to look at design trends on a global scale, as it’s all too easy to get too focused on what you and your local competitors are producing. If you’re struggling for motivation or feel as though your latest designs are stuck in a rut, try observing other thriving markets as a source of inspiration. Who knows, they might give you your next big idea!

For more information about Chinese web design’s compelling past, there’s a fantastic 2010 interview here with six well-known Chinese designers that gives even more insight into the process.


The redesigned Go-Player site, created by Shanghai-based agency, KOTEBO.