Web design in Vietnam
In this article, we will give you a brief overview of the current stage of Website Design Industry in Vietnam, a few things to note if you want to utilize the services here or need to launch websites that target this market. As a Digital Service Provider ourselves, we will try our best to give you un-biased reviews and instructions on how to pick the best solution for your next website project.
Mobile first when it comes to websites for Vietnam
For business owners, this means that when it comes to website design services in Vietnam, most of the service providers should be already familiar with Responsive and Adaptive website designs and what it takes to design and develop websites that work on multiple devices.
“ Website is quickly becoming an essential marketing channel in Vietnam. ”
Vietnamese companies do not invest in website design
Many websites in Vietnam look like they were made 10 years ago with busy, cluttered design and and terrible user experience. You may think this is limited to just small companies in Vietnam, and you will find yourself dead wrong. Many of the worst websites in Vietnam belong to huge companies in various industries, it seems like these businesses never use their own websites and online services just to see how freaking difficult it is to navigate and use their sites.
To respond to this emphasis on price, many digital agencies here resort to 2 options:
- Use pre-designed & pre-developed templates to cut down the time and cost of website projects.
- Invest little or no time in research, design, and development.
There is one HUGE issue with using template approach
Using the template approach will go against everything that website development best practices tell us: Content goes before Design. I have covered this topic in great details in another article Content first approach website design, please check it out if you are ready to start a new website project and haven't heard about it. If you really have to use templates, I suggest that you should still start with Content first, then based on your Content you can pick the most appropriate template design.
Take a look below as we list a few examples of big websites in Vietnam that skimmed on the research, design, and development phases. Some of them are disasters for the eyes, some are just impossible to use.
“ This is the e-banking portal of BIDV, one of the biggest banks in Vietnam. You may notice the year in the screenshot, yes it still looks exactly the same after 7 years. Please imagine me as a website developer spent 1 full hour trying figure out how to use its e-banking service with all the worst cursing and yelling you can imagine. ”
It is not limited to local companies only, however. The local website version of many internal brands in Vietnam leave a lot to be desired:
“ This is the website of Pepsi co in Vietnam. ”
“ And here is the website of Unilever Vietnam. ”
Hint: For small businesses to stand out (and it's really easy to beat the big players on the web), you can make time to do your own research and planning. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us for free consulting services, and our articles section is a great starting resource to learn more about websites and how to plan for your next website project.
Website design in Vietnam is largely impacted by its culture
If you have a chance to go to a local market in Vietnam, you can see the many colors it has. Vietnamese culture is strongly influenced by Chinese culture due to the history and close proximity of the two neighbor countries. This cultural background deeply affects how we pick and choose the color patterns when we work with our partners who want to target the Vietnam market. However, Vietnam also inherits and absorbs Western styles during its journey to search for independence and modernization. This specific type of cultural mix presents us with barriers and challenges but also opportunities and chances to experiment and discover new things.
Most web design agencies in Vietnam are taking inspiration from Western style design, especially the American design style to be specific. This comes at no surprise as most of the world leading websites come from the US and the Vietnamese people are more associated with the US (Hollywood) culture. Western European design style is a rarity here in Vietnam mostly due to low-key appearance of famous European brands as well as the mostly minimalist and mono-color style that does not resonate with Vietnamese people's love for colors and noise.
Recently, there is a new trend of design that mixes the modern style with Vietnam's cultural elements and values to create a unique design of Vietnam and for Vietnam. We are seeing this trend being applied mostly to traditional products such as herbs, medicines, foods as well as organic produces (which has recently become a trend in Vietnam). We look forward to seeing this to rise as a unique design trend of Vietnam, for Vietnam, similar to what we see in the other similar markets such as Japan and China.
“ A typical colorful scene at a local market in Vietnam. ”
There are limitations when designing a website for Vietnamese audience
The Vietnamese language tends to be a bit more verbose than English for example, which usually causes the navigation to look a bit more cluttered. The Vietnamese alphabet (chữ quốc ngữ) is a Latin alphabet with additional diacritics for tones and certain letters. As you may have guessed, there is a very limited number of fonts that support the display of Vietnamese alphabet which vastly reduce the choices for the designers.
As noted, colors play a big role in designing in Vietnam, and the designers should equip himself deep understanding of various meanings of colors and how they can be associated with other social aspects. There have been cases where we were told to use or not to use certain colors because they may not play well with the birth year of the owners. If you come from the Western culture this may sound absurd to you, but this belief comes from Feng-shui and Chinese astrology which plays important role in the decision making process of many business owners (especially with ones from Northern provinces such as Ha Noi).
Most websites in Vietnam use open-source platforms
Many businesses in Vietnam often ask for the full source-code for the websites and most digital agencies opt for open-source platforms for that reason. Among the most used open-source website platforms in Vietnam are:
- Wordpress (Blog, Personal, Corporate website)
- Joomla (Personal, Corporate website)
- Drupal (Corporate website)
- Magento (eCommerce website)
- OpenCart (eCommerce website)
- Prestashop (eCommerce website)
- Most businesses in Vietnam are SMEs without capable in-house IT teams specialized in the web. In 99% of the cases, the website will be left the way it is without any security and software upgrade for as long as it is still online (or until it gets hacked which happens more often that you may want to believe).
- Setting up and maintaining the infrastructure of a website is a complex and on-going process. There are many softwares involved under the hood to keep the website running smoothly and securely. In-house IT, even if present and with the skills, usually do not have sufficient time to take care of all this since they are usually tasked with other things as well.
Websites in Vietnam are not used to their full potential
- Most business owners do not have enough information and understanding about the website, how it works and how it can help them to grow their businesses.
- Most companies consider website a cost, not an investment because they lack the knowledge and experience (as well as the determination) to track, measure and improve the Return on Investment of the website.
- Managing a website can be a very overwhelming and time-consuming task. Most businesses do not have dedicated teams to take care of the website or digital marketing due to budget constraints.
“ We empower everyone for the world wide web. ”
- A powerful platform that can flexibly build all types of complicated system.
- Hosted solution that can take away all the troubles of dealing with security and hosting.
- Full website management services that assist businesses in growing their business online.
- An eco-system that provides the necessary tools for businesses to grow.
- Professional yet cost efficient web solution for small businesses (coming soon)
The website design in Vietnam is maturing and slowly transforming into the next generation. We believe that the next big things in Vietnam will have everything to do with technologies and especially with the web. We cannot wait to see more and more changes come to this 100 million people market to improve people's lives, to connect everyone together.