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Thursday, November 20, 2014

UI/UX of Taiwan - How to Navigate if You Don't Speak Mandarin

Don't be hesitant about visiting Taiwan, even if you don't speak Mandarin or Taiwanese. Taiwan has been growing in popularity for tourist not only from English speaking countries, but also Japan and Korea. Additionally, there are many English speakers in Taiwan now along with signs written in English, so navigating, feeding yourself, and finding a bathroom isn't an issue. However, this does still pose a challenge for Taiwan. How does a country accommodate large quantities of people in a small space, and many of whom are tourists who do not speak or read the native language?

The answer is using very easy to understand signage. I kind of joke (but mostly serious) that the UI/UX of Taiwan is fabulous. Transportation, logistics, and restaurant professionals might want to take a few hints from the Taiwanese. Here's some photos to illustrate what I mean.
Ordering food:
Mosburger in Taipei makes it very clear where you stand to order your meal. The location was teeny tiny, maybe only 150-200 square feet not including the kitchen space. Managing customers' is a must in that tiny space.
Stand here to pick up your food.

When it comes to ordering drinks, graphics like this are common. You can point and select how much ice you want and how sweet you want your drink. Some of them also include the grams of sugar corresponding to the sweetness level you select. Do note that higher sugar content is generally in red, and no sugar is in green. You don't need to learn how to say "easy on the sugar, or just a little ice" in Mandarin. Just point to what you want.

Here's an interesting one spotted at the Ippudo Ramen restaurant in the Taipei train station (second floor). Just how spicy and firm do you want your ramen? Point to the two scales. The top one is for spicy and the bottom on is or firmness (al dente).

Also at Ippudo Ramen here's a diagram that shows you how to crush your garlic for your ramen.

Here's a diagram n how to hold and eat your fried Japanese chicken at Mosburger. It reminds me of Ikea instructions.

Now that you've had a meal, perhaps you would like to walk it off with some sight seeing. Here's a crosswalk. The feet show which side of the street you should walk on. These are yellow feet for the oncoming pedestrian traffic to my left. I'm walking on the right.

Don't forget to hold onto your children when walking in the street.

Or you might want to take a train. You'll notice that the lines are color coded, but like it is in the United States.

What you might not see are color coded lines that walk you all the way to the train platform. This is for the bullet train. We just followed the orange line from the main entrance of the bullet train area, and then we arrive at our boarding platform. It even tells you where too stand to board so that you aren't blocking people who are exiting.

This particular screen showed the trains coming and the time to arrival. As the time of the train grew closer, the color card they were on turned from green to yellow to red.

When you're on a train or bus, seats for the elderly, pregnant, travelers with children, or physically disabled are clearly color coded. The color scheme for regular seats and priority seats is marked near the seats and often accented with additional yellow flooring. Don't use those seats unless you need them.

Speaking of trains, don't fall onto the tracks. If you do, hide under the platform and call for help.
Finding bathrooms here is very easy and obvious. The addition in Taiwan is the number of meters and/or minutes of walking it takes to arrive at the bathroom.

Some people really dislike QR codes. I see people post repeatedly about how much they passionately dislike QR codes. However, they are all over Taiwan. Menus, signs, billboards, brochures, and even tray liners. If you have a website, they'll turn it into a QR code and stick it everywhere.

When you're in Taiwan, there are lots of instructions on what to do and not to do. What no to do is usually with an "X" and/or red - like don't pick up a monkey and Herpes B.

Things you can and/or should do are noted with circles and/or a cool color. Please hide food in your bag, please keep your dogs on leash and hang on to the kids, and do tell  other people not to feed the monkey(s)!

Here's another one with the red coloring. Don't fall off into the water and get swept out to sea.

In case of rogue waves, crouch down. Don't run.

These graphics and layouts easily depict information so that non-Mandarin speakers and readers can have enjoy may of the fun activities Taiwan has to offer. Also, don't pet the wild monkeys.

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