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by Christina W.J. Li
uiGarden is a bilingual on-line
magazine that provides an opportunity for researchers and practitioners
who work in the user interface design (including user experience, information
architecture, GUI, and usability) field in the Chinese and the English
speaking worlds to publish their thinking and exchange views with each
Why we want to do this project?
There are two main reasons for us to do this project.
First of all, as practitioners in the UI design field, we hope to walk
in this field farther and believe there is very wide development space
for user-centred design. The motive force of building uiGarden stems from
our persistent passion for user-centred design. We hope that uiGarden
can become an open platform, where swift and free information exchanges
are offered to professional people.
Secondly, this world is emerging everyday. People encounter different
cultures everyday, especially in immigrating countries like Canada, the
U.S, as well as in the UK. As designers who have worked both in the east
and in the west, we would like to become a bridge between the western
community and the eastern culture. There’s much potential to explore
the Chinese market, - nearly one forth of the world’s population.
On the other hand, we also want to bring the newest research and development
in the west to China, in order to help the Chinese design and usability
industry to keep up with the world.
Why it is ready to do this project?
We determined that the current environment is ready for the launch of
an interactive webzine for working professionals in the UI field. Key
conditions for this decision include the following:
- Fast growing industry
As a newly developed industry, user interface design has captivated
more and more designers, usability specialists, information architects,
software engineers, and cognitive scientists, etc. to step into its
field. There are 32 HCI consultancies registered on the British HCI
group’s web site (1) and 242 companies registered
on HCI Bibliography web site (2). Every year more than
50 conferences related to HCI are held around the world; about 100 books
and 400 articles are published (3). At the same time,
more and more enterprises have noticed the importance of the user-centred
design and the great ROI that the usability strategy can provide (4).
In China, the idea of user interface design is even newer. However,
as the Chinese Government gives benefits for software businesses, the
Chinese software industry is growing at the high rate of more than 30%
every year (5). More and more people are participating
in the process of user interface design.
- Requirements for information exchange and research
Information access and exchange are soaking more and more into practitioners’
daily lives. People need to quickly know the research result and get
feedback from other practitioners and researchers in this field. There’s
also a demand for sharing experience with others. More and more on-line
communities, discussion boards and mailing lists have been developed
for exchanging ideas and thoughts. In addition, on Interaction Designers
discussion group, many list members have complained that there’s
not enough research on other cultures and people make mistakes when
developing product to the Far East market (6).
- Requirements of Chinese practitioners for theory and methodology
A large amount of Chinese practitioners come from graphic design or
programming backgrounds. They are eager to learn usability theories
and new methodologies. However, usability and information architecture
are very new in China; the integral level of UI design in China is only
at the starting stage at present. In contrast to the rising expectation
of theory and methodology instruction, there are less than 10 research
labs conducting HCI research in China and only one of these is doing
usability research (7). Although many websites are
taking designing as their themes, it is actually rare to find an outstanding
website which targets the UI and usability field, not even one that
can offer not only abundant information, but also dynamic exchange and
interaction with western practitioners. Lacking in specialized publications,
swift trade information and lateral communication in the industry, UI
designers are finding it difficult moving ahead whilst trying to develop.
What we will bring to you?
For western practitioners, we aim to create a place to communicate and
exchange views with other professionals. The site will also act as a window
on the user interface design industry in the Far East, helping to give
insights into this increasingly important market.
From the point of view of Chinese practitioners, the website will give
access to the latest developments in the West, featuring articles from
leading Western experts translated into the Chinese language and providing
discussion boards which facilitate discussion of each article.
How we achieve our goal?
The site is still at the design stage. We aim to launch it by the end
of this year. We are working in co-operation with the Usability Professionals
Association in China and the UK in order to achieve the benefits to our
What we need from you?
First of all, we need contents from you! We are now looking for contents
for the first issue. It's a great chance for authors to provoke thinking
among peers and to have a readership both in the west and in the east.
- We are interested in articles with a focus on:
- exploring theories and concepts that reflect current industrial
- future looking articles that address the challenges faced by
- articles relating to the teaching of user-centred techniques
- case studies from projects demonstrating the application of user-centred
- reviews of books, conferences, sites, software, tools and interactive
- interviews with leading experts in the field showing their point
of view to professional issues
If you feel you would like to share your views with other colleagues,
please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
- In addition, we also need volunteers helping us on:
- translating articles
- designing and developing the site
- moderating forums
If you are willing to volunteer some of your free time, please send
an email message to email@example.com
Who are there behind the project?
- Christina W.J. Li (originator, designer and developer)
Christina studied Fresco Painting at Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts, China
and continued working in the graphic design field before switching to
interface design. From 1998 to 2002, Christina worked as a managing
director for software user interface design at the biggest IT Company
of China (Lenovo Group), where
she led various interface design and usability research projects for
software, website, Set-top Box, etc. Having graduated with a MA in Interactive
Multimedia from The University of Arts London, she currently works as
a freelance designer and information architect in London. Her research
interests lie in user-centred design, information architecture and mobile
phone user interface design.
- Ann Light (advisor)
Ann Light is editor of Usability News (www.usabilitynews.com)
and also consults on communication strategy and usability. She balances
this with an academic presence as visiting research fellow at the University
of Sussex, under whose wing she publishes on interaction design and
networked communication. She is part of the HCI community that seeks
to introduce insights from arts and humanities into digital product
design, just now helping to launch the Leonardo Network (www.arts-hci.org).
Before devoting herself to the relationship between people and technology,
she was a political journalist and her first serious job was drama teaching,
an early example of her interest in interaction design. Her education
includes an English degree, a PGCE in Drama, an MSc in Knowledge Based
Systems and a PhD in 'Interaction through Websites' from Sussex.
- We also thank Lin Qin (The president of UPA China
Branch) and other friends for help from China and the UPA China Branch.
If you feel you would like to be more involved in this project, to become
an editor, adviser or sponsor, please feel free to contact Christina on
- Dongjianming, Fulimin, Gavriel Salvendy. Human-Computer
Interaction: User Centered Design and Evaluation. Tstinghua University
publishing. 2003. pp. 1-3.
- According to The Usability Company’s experience,
the average return on investment ratio is 1:8 (for every £1 spent
on Usability services the return is £8 in a 12 month period).
- From the Interaction Design Discussion List