The Web is a wonderful technology, globally the web has evolved into something more than just flashy text flying around, the web has become a tool or a collection of tools that people use to do all kinds of things, from basic things such as searching for information to more advanced things like transferring money, reading reviews of stores or restaurants base on where you are on google maps, buying goods and services, online-banking, project management, even productivity tools such as the Microsoft office suite, google docs is now available online within a web browser.
The more useful the web becomes the more problems it solves, in societies everywhere people are learning to use online tools to make their lives easier and as a by product solves bigger problems such as traffic, pollution. Since the web has made it so that people can do more from their homes, it reduces the need for people to commute which then reduces the amount of traffic and naturally reduces pollution.
In Thailand the progress of the web has been quite lacking. People in Thailand use the internet mainly for leisure purposes, to watch videos, social networks, read content online, mostly as a ‘toy’, to make that even worse most of the useful services that the Thais use are tools built in the US ie google, youtube, Facebook.
Currently there are absolutely no thai sites that are robust and reliable tools that people can use to make their lives easier. In this article we look at why the web hasn’t evolved in Thailand.
Some of the most popular thai sites include, mthai.com, sanook.com, pantip.com, these are the sites where most thai internet users spend their time, or at the least they will have heard about one of these sites. If you look at the progress that these sites have been making in terms of designand content, you will see that they have been pretty much the same 5 years ago as they are today.
As you can see it looks exactly the same and does exactly the same things. The only differences are the advertisements on the page.Lets look at another example
We can see that over the 5 years sanook has done some revamps but in terms of the content and the layout the site still looks very cluttered with content. Not offering anything new to the table.
Another thing you’ll notice is that they try to add a lot of advertisement to the site.
On some of these sites they even pop up very obtrusive advertisements on the site. Some advertisements even block the user from viewing the content.
The content has been the same on these sites, sanook.com and mthai.com offer celebriti gossip, political news and sex scandal stories that are going on in Thailand, they also offer games, cartoons, video service like youtube all in one.
Which leads us to ask, what is mthai.com all about really?
As you can see some of the Thai sites look very much the same, overly cluttered with content, no new design, there is no thinking outside the box, its all about doing the same thing over and over.
The Thai online banking system are also extremely incompetent, the systems don’t work and are very difficult to use, how can the people trust that the system will work when they can’t even get it to do the most basic things?
The Banks don’t care about investing into hiring designers, to get it right, their interfaces are so bad that at one point one of the bank in Thailand was offering money for people to use online banking!
To top that off they don’t follow web standards, these sites i’ve shown above do not render correctly in all browsers, the same goes for the banking systems.
The Internet is a Toy not a Tool (Only in Thailand)
To the rest of the world the internet is a tool that can be used to solve alot of problems and in other countries they have used internet as a tool to make lives easier for the people through, ordering stuff online, internet banking, sharing content, collaborate on projects.
Thai people still think of the internet as a toy. Most of the people in Thailand don’t buy stuff online, they don’t do banking online, they don’t work online, they don’t transfer money online. Most people still use the internet only for leisure purposes. This is because thai web hasn’t evolved. Thais are not building tools, they’re building toys.
How can the audience evolve when the sites they’re using are toys? How can the people harness the power of the internet to solve problems when they are playing with toys and not using tools?
Thai web-sites are mostly broken, until the site-owners actually do something to fix it Thailand will always be stuck in the past. The people will never evolve and use the internet as a tool for solving problems.