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LikeChinese:Breaking the Ice in Learning Chinese
Collaborated with TU Delft and Leiden University

Master graduation project ( Cum Laude )

Contextual user research // APP design // Movie making


APP prototype developed by Patrick Pijnappel


Mandarin, the common tongue in China, is increasingly getting global attention due to the rapid development in China. During my stay abroad, I found actually for most of westerners, Chinese language, especially the written symbols: characters are something fascinating but unreachable. It seemed to be a huge iceberg standing in between westerners and Chinese characters that hinders westerners getting closer with this language. Long been triggered by this observation I initiated this project to identify the common difficulties that westerners have when encountering with the Chinese characters, and to explore how design can help encouraging westerners to get to know them.


LikeChinese, the final design offers you a new way to meet the most spoken language in the world: Chinese. It includes an inviting flyer, a website and a tablet APP. The APP as the main design outcome of this project uses users' hidden knowledge of the Chinese characters, and let them explore characters in a creative and artistic way. LikeChinese makes users realize they actually knew more about Chinese characters than they originally thought and unconsciously feel closer and more fascinated with Chinese characters.


In the beginning of the project, a short documentary was made by interviewing 25 westerners to learn how they think of Chinese language. During the project I closely partnered with the department of East Asian Study at Leiden University, where I got supports for observations and interviews. It enabled me to explore and capture insights into the context of professional Chinese learning. Also I facilitated creative sessions with people who study Chinese as hobbies. All these experiences, anecdotes and aspirations helped to gain a holistic understanding of how it would feel and what would happens when foreigners encountering with Chinese characters. Being inspired by the users stories, a collection of user scenarios was generated for developing design concept.


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