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Globalizing Universities : comparing the visual design of the Chinese and English homepages of Chinese Universities

Tang, J. (2015) Globalizing Universities : comparing the visual design of the Chinese and English homepages of Chinese Universities.

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Abstract:Aim: Cultural differences have shown great influence in international communication; especially in websites which have attracted the attention of previous researches which aim to find out the trend in differences. This study explores the visual designs of the original Chinese and English versions of the Chinese university homepages, to identify underlying assumptions about the cultural differences between China and Western countries. Method: This study used two methods to collect data on the visual design of Chinese university homepages. First, a content analysis of 96 Chinese university websites was conducted, focusing on the manifest visual characteristics of the websites. Second, online questionnaires were used to investigate the more latent characteristics of 50 websites, specifically focusing on overall impressions on participants. Results: The research shows that there is generally little visual consistency between the Chinese and the English homepage versions. The differences show in manifest characteristics as well as overall impressions. Both Western and Chinese participants express a preference for the English versions. The Chinese website versions are more complex and more crowded, while the English versions do better in the following aspects: professionalism, attractiveness, and a focus on high status, community, leadership, and wellbeing. Conclusion: The results show that the process of globalization is far-reaching in the case of Chinese universities. It is hard to relate the differences found to cultural dimensions. Differences may be more due to image and reputation considerations, and the English versions may present the more condensed and more deliberate image of the universities.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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