Tech

Comparative Color Saturation in Chinese vs. Western App Interfaces

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Sometimes you have one of those conversations that’s so full of new ideas, it pinballs around your head for days. I enjoyed one of those recently while interviewing a source at a Beijing-based mobile game localization company, a man responsible for reviewing non-Chinese mobile games and assessing whether or not they’re a good fit for China. We were talking entry-level stuff for him, I’m sure, but it was a new to me: the challenges of porting games to the Chinese market, the actuary tables for app vetting and what the criteria is for refusal, that kind of thing. I asked him about the common visual adjustments – color, animation style – that his company recommends developers make to their mobile games in order to better please the Chinese eye before a launch on the mainland. You know what he said?

“Bright colors are a must here and our localization team often increases the saturation on games where there’s too much visual neutrality. Games with darker palettes, too many grays, blacks or browns tend to do worse in the market.”

Jesus, really? A noticeable difference in market share based on app color values? I mean, I got the impression that the guy wasn’t using the word “saturation” in the Biblical design sense, rather as an expression of general vividness, but I wondered if that was a measurable fact. And if it was, how to measure it. Which is weird for me, because I don’t usually bother with measurements, I just eyeball a cup of flour and throw that shit in the oven.

(I moved this post. Read the rest over at The Pixellary.)

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Winning Gold at the Midlands Addys

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Sure is nice to wake up in the morning and find out your work won a snazzy first-place award in a contest you never entered, like we did here at the Pixellary this morning. So many thanks and congratulations to U.S.-based Pixellary collaborators¬†Riggs Partners for sending in the ADDYs application and then – lo and behold – winning the darn thing. (more…)

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Chinese Standard Web Fonts: A Guide to CSS Font Family Declarations for Web Design in Simplified Chinese

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Massive Google fail. Since days of searching have brought me no closer to answering my most pressing Chinese font questions, I bit the bullet and sat down to do some testing and write up my own guide in English for Western web and UI designers targeting users in China (yeah, all three of us). (more…)

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Breaking News: People who can’t attach photos to email are legislating about the internet

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Posted from: Beijing

After several years spent with a picket sign in one hand and a brick in the other, these days my political platform typically consists of the word “Meh”. I like to pat myself on the back for being too pessimistic to believe in anything except individual human responsibility. Governments shall rise and fall, shit shall happen, life shall go on. But the more I hear about SOPA and the Protect IP act, the more I sense my withered inner activist shaking off the coils of eternal slumber.

If you’ve never heard of SOPA or Protect IP, here’s the skinny:

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Sad thing is, I think it’s only a matter of time before a bill like SOPA or Protect IP is passed. If it doesn’t happen now, it’ll happen when some unfortunate event occurs that opportunistic legislators can use to make everyone who opposes the bill look bad. The comments section of a website will spark a celebrity suicide, or some kid will download a pirated slasher movie and kill his parents or whatever. Name your tragedy. “We have to do something,” legislators will bluster, and they’ll set about happily paving the road to hell. What’s really kind of amazing is that it hasn’t happened sooner.

So yeah, I think it’s inevitable. But I’m not willing to see it pass without at a hefty dose of public ire. (more…)

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TaoBao Christmas Miracles: Surviving the Chinese Ecommerce User Experience Apocolypse

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Posted from: Beijing

I spent the better part of Christmas Eve morning sitting in an empty concession stand outside of Solana shopping center waiting for the two very confused young ladies behind the counter to figure out how to bake a pizza slice.

“Why does this oven have so many knobs?” whispered one to the other, loudly. (more…)

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Swiss Retro Ecommerce Web Elements set for Smashing Magazine, or: Trials, Tribulations and the Pixel Grid

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Posted from: South Carolina

I was just recently asked to design an ecommerce icon set for Smashing Magazine and after a several week long row with Photoshop during which I threatened to set its ruler states to “picas” and leave them that way forever, it’s finally done.

Doing design work for Smashing is terrifying in the way that asking Stephen Hawking to review your long division would be terrifying. You’d hand in your sad little equation, worn thin from your eraser, and pray only for the intelligence to understand all the myriad, cryptic ways in which he’s going to pity you. (more…)

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Thanks for Sainting Me, Google Social Search

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Posted from: South Carolina

If you asked my friends to describe my temperament, you’d be unlikely to hear, “cleaves to the heavenly bosom of the divine” or “spends hours in quiet contemplation of the spiritual”, and more likely to hear, “is really too stuck on the ‘that’s what she said’ thing” and “should stop eating after the second helping but doesn’t”.

And okay, so I get up at noon on Sunday. But hey, my MUD character goes on holy quests for arcane artifacts and mana potions several times a month, thankyouverymuch. And I have been known to positively crusade for cookies. So imagine my surprise at learning that, according to Google’s Secondary Connections list, it turns out I’m connected by a distance of only ONE PERSON to a smorgasbord of ACTUAL PRIESTS. Picture proof of my consummate holitude after the jump.

(more…)

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8 Neat Chinese Website Designs

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Posted from: South Carolina

If you’ve ever spent any time in a foreign grocery store, you may have noticed that design trends differ heavily from culture to culture. Packaging that says “nomnomnom” to an elderly Japanese woman says “dear god is that a cuttlefish with cartoon eyes?” to you. In terms of web design preference, the Chinese tend towards very busy portal-style page content, flashing ads, tiny text, photorealistic will-o-the-wisp-y light effects, auto-loading music and lots and lots and lots and lots of Flash. (more…)

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Brandstack: The Good, the Bad, and the Self-Congratulation

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Posted from: South Carolina

You know when someone you’ve been badmouthing pays you a compliment, and you’re suddenly left with a choice of being disingenuously nice in return or having to run back up to that moral highground you should have parked your butt on in the first place? Since Brandstack.com, not my favorite site in the universe, just promoted a couple of my works, I’m making up a third option, which is “blog about the whole thing at length then forget about it”. (more…)

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The Good Ship Tutorial Has Sailed to Distant Lands

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My tutorials have ridden off into the sunset. They’re swimming with the fishies. Somewhere in Asia, my tutorials are canoodling with courtesans. That is to say, though Google’s going to dump me and my readers are going to be disappointed, I’ve decided to take the tutorial section off this site. (more…)

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