Entertaining or functional: An analysis of visuals in Chinese and Western household appliance manuals

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Abstract

In today's global world, understanding local user preferences becomes an increasingly essential skill, especially for technical communicators who design products for people in other cultures. This study attempts to analyze and compare visuals in Chinese and Western manuals because visuals play an essential role in manuals. Based on a systematically designed coding scheme, we analyzed 50 Western and 50 Chinese household product manuals (1895 pages in total) designed in their own cultures and published after 2007. Results show many differences between Chinese and Western manuals with regard to visuals. All differences seem to point in the same direction; Chinese visuals appear to have an entertaining function while Western visuals are not meant to entertain the readers but have an informative or instructive function. This study aims to enhance the mutual understanding of information designers in cross-cultural manual design.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2018 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, ProComm 2018
PublisherIEEE
Pages90-97
Number of pages8
Volume2018-July
ISBN (Electronic)9781538658574
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2018
EventIEEE International Professional Communication Conference, ProComm 2018 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 22 Jul 201825 Jul 2018
http://procomm2018.utoronto.ca/

Conference

ConferenceIEEE International Professional Communication Conference, ProComm 2018
Abbreviated titleProComm 2018
CountryCanada
CityToronto
Period22/07/1825/07/18
Internet address

Keywords

  • Chinese culture
  • cross-cultural communication
  • user manual
  • visuals
  • western culture

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  • Cite this

    Li, Q., Karreman, J., & De Jong, M. D. T. (2018). Entertaining or functional: An analysis of visuals in Chinese and Western household appliance manuals. In Proceedings - 2018 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, ProComm 2018 (Vol. 2018-July, pp. 90-97). [8476836] IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/ProComm.2018.00029