The story of Chinestory...


Author & Creator:

Dr. Haiyan Fan


Dr. Haiyan Fan

Chinestory was born in a mother’s heart and developed in a user experience design professional’s mind. It started in May 2013 when Dr. Haiyan Fan, upon returning to the United States after completing her job assignment in China, started to research appropriate Chinese textbooks for her school-age children to learn Chinese after living in China for four years. To her disappointment, there weren’t any materials in the market that came even close to what she deemed as desirable.  

In the US, Haiyan has witnessed first hand too many dramas of kids of Chinese descendants going through the agony of Sunday Chinese school years after years, yet without much fruition to the language capability compatible with the learners’ cognitive abilities. Dr. Fan decided to design a Chinese language curriculum herself. 

Being a lover of children’s literature herself, and a mother who always enjoys the delight of reading out loud an artfully designed children’s book with her kids, she decided to combine storytelling with Chinese language learning, coupling the power of artfully designed imagery of the Chinese characters. Hence, the idea of Chinestory came alive.   

Whether in industry or academia, Dr. Fan has had the same research goal: to bring product or service one step closer to a user’s true needs and wants so consuming such a product or service will actually make the user’s life easier, more productive and hence more enjoyable, instead of difficult, counter-productive and painful. In this Chinestory book series, Dr. Fan brought the same principle and expertise in user experience design into the design of a Chinese language curriculum.  

A former English teacher in her hometown - Shenzhen, China, Haiyan came to the States in 1997 to pursue her Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics and Teaching English as a Second Language at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Later her research work at the Artificial Intelligence Lab at U of Arizona gave her a unique perspective on language learning, and promoted her continuous pursuit in the research domain of Human-Computer Interaction in her doctoral program at Texas A&M University.   

A former principal user experience researcher at China’s largest telecomm company with extensive experience designing for user-friendly mobile, seamless user experiences, Dr. Fan made a career U-turn to answer a calling to devote her expertise to the course of making language learning easy, productive and enjoyable.