Exploring user behaviour of emoticon use among Chinese youth

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The use of emoticons, particularly on smart mobile devices, has become increasingly popular among young people in recent years. The emoticon is not just a form of information transmission; it also represents a new way of life and a new trend among young people. The aim of this study was to understand the role of emoticons in the daily lives of Chinese young people, investigate how mediated communication has been improved by smart mobile devices and discover users’ preferred types of emoticon. First, a review of the literature on emoticons was conducted to explore the relationship between the evolution of the emoticon and young people’s everyday lives. Next, in-depth interviews were conducted, which yielded novel findings regarding emoticon use. Finally, a questionnaire was used to obtain data on emoticon use for statistical analysis. The findings revealed four key dimensions of emoticon use that were relevant to the research questions: accuracy, sociability, efficiency and enjoyment. These four dimensions help us to better understand the development of emoticons and their influence on the lifestyles of young people. The findings are expected to provide inspiration and suggest directions for improving the design of smart communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-649
Number of pages13
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2017


  • Emoticon
  • smart communication
  • user behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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