January 31, 2009
State of Hong Kong web industry?
Last night, I planned to buy a new camera during the next time I visit Hong Kong (July). I wanted to have a rough idea on how much cheaper it would cost if I buy it there, so I searched and tried to browse the camera category in the websites of two of the most popular electronic retailers in Hong Kong. They are called: Broadway and Fortress. They are so popular that you may guaranteed to find one of them stores in any shopping malls you can find in Hong Kong. But I was completely shocked when I attempted to use their websites to find products information online, the web standard is so bad for big companies like that!
So what’s wrong with them?
Is the bad online experience really a big problem for them?
Broadway and Fortress could probably get away with it because Hong Kong is kind of small, you may able to reach one of the local store to browse products physically within 20 minutes (with annoying sale staff trying to promote you items), and you are able buy the product straight away. There would be not much demand for online purchasing because by the time you wait for a delivery, you may as well just visit the store and buy it. But with all the effort required to find information about cameras from a store in HongKong, it brings me a question:
What is the state of the Hong Kong web industry?
With this query in mind, I have visited a few popular websites in HK to find similarities between them:
- DiscoveryHongKong - Offical Tourism website
- CityBus - One of the major bus companies in HK
- MTR - Railway transport operation
- TVB - Most Popular TV channel in HK
- HK Jockey Club - Horse racing and gambling corporation
- 881903 - Popular radio channel
- Yahoo(HK) - Yahoo!
- 3 (HK) - Three
1. Promote, promote and promote Many websites are still advertising-focused, with more than 5 promotions at the same time.
2. Flashy animations / scrolling text Flash is not always bad to have in a website, but at least they should be meaningful or provide some information, not just for decoration. Also, the more flash a site contains, the more visual noise it makes. Just from the above list of websites, 100% of them contents flash animations, 1 just serves the purpose of decoration, about 30% of them are inner links, rest are outer links (ads).
3. Coded with html tables 5/8 are coded with html tables, 2/8 with CSS, 1/8 is flash based. Coding a website with html tables is what I’d do back when I was 17… This page can tell you more about why CSS layout is better than Table layout.
OK, I am not involved in the HK web community and I am probably wrong to try to reflect the quality of the Hong Kong web industry just by looking at 8 popular organizations’ websites. But the findings could be quite true for many websites in HK, there seem to be a lot of catch up to be done.
There must be user experience professionals in Hong Kong, are they finding it impossible to convince their clients to reduce visual noise because they just think of website as another way to mass advertise?