Book chapter
Open access

Analyzing Social Networking Websites: The Design of Happy Network in China

ContributorsZimmermann, Basileorcid
Published inGlobal Design History, Editors Glenn Adamson, Giorgio Riello, Sarah Teasley, p. 153-162
Publication date2011

In April 2008, a new SNS was launched in China: 开心网 (Happy Network). Its particular rhetoric, compared to existing social networking websites at the time, was that it focused on the idea of ‘having fun.' In June 2009 the number of registered users of the site exceeded 30 million, and was growing at a fast pace. The company was eleventh in a list of top Chinese websites, and analysts called it China's top Internet phenomenon of 2008/2009. Websites and web pages are paradigmatic objects for whom is interested in the question of global design as they are at the same time circulating inside and part of the structure of an international network: the Internet. Based on research beginning in July 2008 in Beijing, this paper presents on-going research about Happy Network's web interface design process. It shows how the Network interpreted design concepts already used by other social networking websites, improved them by providing different ways of interaction between users, and developed its own means of advertising. Methodologically, it also suggests how web design can be analyzed using insights taken from two different theoretical frameworks in social sciences: the grounded theory and the actor-network theory.

  • China
  • Social networking sites
  • Design Research
  • Grounded Theory
  • Actor-network theory
  • Contemporary China
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
ZIMMERMANN, Basile. Analyzing Social Networking Websites: The Design of Happy Network in China. In: Global Design History. [s.l.] : Routledge, 2011. p. 153–162.
Main files (1)
Book chapter (Accepted version)
  • PID : unige:46319

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