Expanding into new markets is challenging; EPD discovered this while opening their new offices in China. With difficulties loading their Australian website, they quickly recognized that the online environment behind the Great Firewall is not like that of the rest of the world. Along with a full redesign, we worked with EPD to find a solution for bringing their digital presence to China.
A growing design firm with offices around the world, EPD (China) Architecture & Interiors assists their clients through strategy and execution of commercial office spaces. After expanding into Beijing and Shanghai, they found that their Australian hosted website was difficult to access in China. Slow loading times coupled with an outdated site pushed their team to reach out to Maples Design for help.
The digital bubble
To start, our team looked at solving the difficulties of accessing the site in mainland China. After explorations into EPD’s objectives, we decided to create a brand new locally-hosted version of their site. This aligned with the global push to redesign their branding and logo.
We recognized that the internet ecosystem is very different in China compared to the rest of the world, and this also applied to the managerial aspects of hosting a website. One hurdle that we experienced in setting up a server was getting the ICP license. The permit license allows companies to host websites in China and a company cannot obtain a server without it. As it was EPD’s first run through the process, it took a few weeks to get through the administrative tasks. However, with a bit of a push in between the endless projects and client meetings, we confirmed some basic information with the government and received the license for the website.
A design process to align with the culture
With the main goal of having a platform to showcase their completed office projects, our team knew that design was going to be an important aspect of the website. Considering the firm’s industry, culture, and approach, we helped select moods and colors that supported the company’s brand and ethos. Through wireframes, user flows, and logo reimagination, our design team crafted a cohesive direction for the look and feel of EPD’s digital presence.
EPD has an extensive collection of completed office projects, and displaying the experience in a clean and understandable interface was essential. To achieve this, our development team focused on ensuring the projects archive and filter functions were intuitive and robust. We were able to provide visitors with options to view specific types of work while also guiding them to key projects that EPD wanted to highlight. When viewing each of the projects, EPD was also able to present powerful visuals to support their case studies.
Taking on the giants
As a new firm in China, EPD has already begun to make waves. However, they are competing with the likes of Gensler and Woods Bagot, a couple of the recognized leaders in an established interior design industry. One advantage EPD has is the flexibility of a small team, which allows them to be agile and adaptable. They have managed to present themselves as a capable group, and we are fortunate to be able to help them with putting their best foot forward. As they grow and expand within China, we hope to continue working with and supporting them.
Their clear proposal, detailed updates, and delivered products went above and beyond our expectations. Maples Design was able to seamlessly work with my busy schedule and communication style, effectively presenting their work at key milestones and stages.Leo Chen, Director