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Nihow App

NiHow app

Interaction between China and America is always increasing. China is one of the largest trading partners of the United States. Lusha obtained some statistics when visiting the China National Tourist Office in New York

• In 2012, China-US trade reached $484.7 billion. 
• In 2013, 2 million Americans visited China. 
• The number of American visitors to China has increased by 60% over the past eight years. 

When considering international travel, Lusha wanted to use design to familiarize travelers with her country’s customs and people—both to encourage more interaction and to make them more comfortable in China. She designed NiHow, a “cultural training” app designed to introduce the Chinese lifestyle to Americans. It clarifies customs and eliminates some common misconceptions. The app is useful to Americans traveling to China, as well as to teachers and students interacting in classrooms with students from China. 

That Lusha is familiar with design in both countries helped her create a program that can be easily understood. Her technology advisor on the project was Kyle Yu, originally from Hong Kong and a software engineer who worked at Shapeways, NBC, and other companies based in New York City. 

All Users


Nationality- American
Age Range 16 - 50 years old
Positive personality
Negative personality
Location: China & America

What do they all share?

They are innovators neophilias, learners -- eager to learn Chinese culture for their needs. Also they are willing to share with others.


Meaningful Groups

Group 1

Americans whose exposure to the country is mainly that they own products labeled
“Made in China,” purchased because they are available and affordable. Even if the
items are useful, they do not illuminate anything about the culture or stimulate
interest in our traditions.


Goal - They try to understand Chinese philosophy and know more about the country.

Questions - They are looking to know something about a new culture without devoting serious
time to it and should be taught in a way that’s simple and easy to absorb. 

Frustration/Pain Points - They are busy with their own affairs and cannot devote much time to learn about

The Name of Group 1 - American who have given little consideration to China.


Paul Johnson,
26 years old, from North Boston, studying Fine Arts in NYC 

Behavioral Demographic
Has a Chinese girlfriend because an Asian girlfriend is trendy. Interested in the country’s culture, he loves watching Kung Fu movies, owns many “Made in China” products and is currently taking time off from homework to learn Chinese as he plans on visiting his girlfriend’s hometown with her at some point.

Pain Point/Need
Though he wants to know more about Chinese customs and traditions, he isn’t sure how to go about it. His time is limited,
but he would like to communicate better with his girlfriend and have more information about her background and country.

I can create a platform for him to learn Chinese culture and design interactions to maximize what he picks up in a reasonable amount of time.





Americans with a negative view of China, seeing it as a country that knocks off other countries’ ideas and feel there is no originality in Chinese design. They do, however, admit that China is the elephant in the room. They want to visit, but have no understanding of what to expect.


Goal - To check out whether or not their opinions are valid.

Questions - Need a lot of examples to show what the Chinese culture is.

Frustration/Pain Points - There are quite a few negative Chinese news stories reported by western media, not always accurately. If the people in this group were better informed, they would likely have more positive feelings about our country.                             

The Name of Group 2 - Americans with negative feelings about China.


David Johnson,
43 years old, from North Texas, working in NYC.

Behavioral Demographic
From middle America, never visited a foreign country. His information is limited to what he’s picked up from newspapers
and the Internet. He has no particular interest in products
coming from China and may, in fact, feel threatened by the country’s growing prominence.

Pain Point/Need
Though he wants to know more about Chinese customs and traditions, he isn’t sure how to go about it. His time is limited,
but he would like to communicate better with his girlfriend
and have more information about her background and country.

I can create a platform for him to learn Chinese culture and design interactions to maximize what he picks up in a reasonable amount of time.



Americans who live and work in China, who’d been attracted by its history and
were motivated to have a different experience. They are living the American
dream, just not in America.


Goal - To gain a clearer understanding of the country and to function more comfortably there.

Questions - Feel it is hard to get access and understand the Chinese culture.

Frustration/Pain Points - Most take a course in the language and culture, but it’s apt to be costly, requiring tuition and living expenses. I will provide cheaper alternatives.

The Name of Group 3 - Americans doing business in China


40 years old, from California, is being sent to work in a
commercial company in Guangzhou, China and moving
his entire family.

Behavioral Demographic
He wants to make friends with Chinese people, but finds it intimidating. Lacking confidence and afraid of offending, he prepared for the move by buying books and becoming somewhat familiar with the culture. What he is most looking forward to
is the food.

Pain Point/Need
Although he is a bit more informed, he remains concerned that the reality will be difficult and that he may not be prepared for what he will actually experience. He’s particularly afraid he may say something, perhaps make a joke, that isn’t appropriate, worried he could unwittingly offend. Aware that he will be functioning in a group of Chinese, he would like to feel more knowledgeable and be able to speak with some competence. As much as he loves eating Chinese food, he’s worried he doesn’t understand the etiquette and customs at the table.

I can build a platform, an app and website to teach foreigners about our culture so they are more assured that they can interact well with business associates. I will also create networking opportunities for Americans living in China to connect and support one  another.

Working process- IA building

idea development

Final design




Nihow users can download the app a month before they visit China, choosing which themes they want to learn about from the following six: shopping, living, transportation, entertainment, eating and places. 





When people click the notification send by Nihow, they can click the preview picture to expand it and learn about the content of the image. 





The app will link to different flight companies or different restaurants according to the content users view.



Once an American understands more about Chinese culture from the Nihow app, he or she can start practicing what they now know, e.g., by following Nihow’s instructions, an American will learn that tea is served to others before you serve yourself. The app also lets Americans connect with other users. 


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