July 10, 2019

Sketch+Design Meetup #5 in Singapore

I was invited by Jules Ang to present Sketch Runner at the Sketch+Design Meetup in Singapore. It was held in a cool traditional looking low rise building that WeWork put a big stamp on in the middle of a business district with loads of skyscrapers. A beautifully light and modern location with a nice lounge area that they turned into a spacious meetup stage for the evening.

There were only 10 folks that showed up. The good thing is they were very engaged. Quality over quantity! And less stress for me to speak for a gigantic audience. Besides talking about Runner and sharing what we've learned during the launch, we also had a 30 minute Q&A followed by a discussion. We tried to learn about differences between design and working life in Singapore and Berlin/Europe.

What I noticed after spending a couple days in the mind-blowingly modern city of Singapore, this country has four official languages. You can see it on signage, on promo flyers, and on restaurant menus. It’s all in English, Malay, Tamil, and Mandarin. So I was wondering how the designers over here deal with this.

Takeaways

  1. Generally, apps are firstly available in English, and not much localization is done yet as it's just a lot of overhead to support all 4 languages.
  2. In school, you choose to learn one additional language to English, and Mandarin is a popular choice, even if Tamil or Malay is what you speak at home.
  3. When designing an interface that also offers Mandarin, keep in mind that Chinese characters In fonts are generally a bit smaller and therefore difficult to read, so they need to be bumped up one or two points to match Latin character sets.

I hope to go back sometime to hang with the friendly design folks of Singapore. (and for the food of course..)

We’re only 2 people strong at the moment and that surprizes many. We’re only 2 people strong at the moment and that surprizes many. The WeWork space at 22 Cross Street The WeWork space at 22 Cross Street