Just your run of the mill e-commerce website… For over 8 million gamers every day. In mandarin.

In 2015, I worked with Riot Games to envision and re-design their Chinese online store for League of Legends. I was responsible for heading up the customer research, facilitating client and partner workshops, and driving interaction design.

Despite strong cultural alignment within the team (my colleagues were all native Chinese speakers and UI Designers), we took the time to immerse ourselves in Chinese gaming culture. We hung out in gaming and internet cafes, observing and asking questions. For those of us who weren’t already playing LoL, we started. We built out a collaboration group of experienced gamers across the world to help us further validate our design work. We engaged with Chinese partners, such as Tencent, to understand the broader needs across the country.

Riot’s internal teams are driven by creating the best experience possible for their players. It was a privilege working with such passionate and customer-centred colleagues.

What we found together surprised us, because it became clear that many of the patterns and conventions of western design were not only understood, but expected by Chinese gamers. And while there were certainly some cultural elements that did differ, they did not go counter to the principles of good user experience, and spoke more to social customs and conventions.

Working closely with a small development team, we moved quickly from concepts to working code, validating the design as we went with our collaboration team and internal stakeholders. Iterations were then implemented at least weekly during the design phase.