Saturday, December 02, 2006

Making it in China but losing it in the States

The differences between UI design in U.S. vs. China ...

"We Got Sick of Hearing About Design & China, So we Got on a Plane and Went There" by Bruce M. Tharp and Stephanie Munson was originally published on Core 77, a site about industrial design, but comes to further attention with its republishing in English and Chinese at uiGarden.

It's a discussion of the impact that China might have on design, very much from the American perspective. It is drawn from the authors' experience of visiting and lecturing.

They ask big questions: 'Will an oversupply of Chinese designers drive wages down, helping to further commoditize design skills? Could there possibly be enough work to absorb even the present, thousands-per-year graduation rate? (And Good God, what would that mean for the environment if they were all designing products?!) What would an abundance of Chinese designers hungry for work mean to the design market in other countries—what types of spillover could occur?'

and they find intriguing answers to the threat implicit in this vision of a shift of design activity to the Far East away from the US:

'And this seems to be the biggest difference between much of the ID education in the US (which we can speak most for) and China. As so many have previously stated, innovation and problem-definition work is what should differentiate the US in the future, amidst the commodification of industrial design from abroad. Indeed, what other choice do we now have when Chinese designers can provide styling for a fraction of western fees? We agree that US ID education has to move even further upstream to avoid future irrelevancy."    (Continued via Usability News)    [Usability Resources]


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