Today, User Experience design is most associated with creating websites and apps, but it can refer to the interaction a user has with any product or service. UX design carefully considers every element that shapes a user’s experience, such as how a website makes a user feel and how easy it is for the user to accomplish required tasks. In basic terms, UX design is about creating an easy and efficient overall user experience. However, UX designers in the west will have different approaches to those in the east because people from different countries can see the world through different cultural lenses. Therefore, it’s crucial UX designers consider how designs are interpreted in various places and know how to adapt their designs accordingly. Here’s a look at three ways in which Japanese and American UX design approaches differ.
People associate colors differently in different parts of the world. But in every country, color symbolism-and-psychology is one of the primary factors that influence a UX design approach. For example, in the United States and other western countries, the color red is associated with things like love and danger. It can conjure feelings of passion or caution, depending on the context in which it’s being used. In Japan and other southeastern countries, the color red is typically associated with vitality, prosperity, and good fortune. So, someone from Japan and someone from American could feel very differently when they visit a website that uses red as one of its key colors. Therefore, red is less commonly used in the United States while it’s used much more in Japan. Another example is the color white. While white is associated with purity and hope in the west, it can be associated with bad luck and death in the east. Therefore, a Japanese オンラインカジノ (online casino) platform like Casumo uses purple as the dominant color, which represents royalty and nobility in Japan, and barely features white on its landing page at all. Contrast that with western platforms like Google’s search engine landing page or eBay’s landing page, which both widely use white in the UX design, and you’ll get a good idea of just how much Japanese and American UX design color methods can differ.
The typography that’s used on a website or app greatly contributes to a user’s experience. In addition to the font type, things like size, spacing, and legibility are all carefully considered. The characteristics of typography in UX design determine the hierarchy of content and how quickly users can scan a webpage. Generally, a lot more text is used in Japanese UX design than in America. That’s because Japanese design adopts a holistic approach, which requires users to scroll through an entire webpage before coming to an opinion. In contrast, in American UX design, leaving white space between text and using varying font sizes is crucial for western audiences to understand the information at a glance.
Because people in Japan and America react in different ways to how typography, visuals, and other content is placed and spaced, UX designers need to change their approaches to a website’s navigation accordingly. In both places, navigation needs to be intuitive and clear. When the navigation isn’t routed correctly, users won’t be able to easily find the pages they’re looking for. That then disrupts user flow and makes users leave the website quickly to try an alternative site. Let’s look at the Sony website as an example. In Japan, the navigation bar groups things like “Products” and “Services” into one option on the menus, which then expands into other subcategories on other pages. So, the search goes from being a specific search to a more precise search on each webpage. On the United States Sony website, the layout is different. All categories are listed via departments on one screen, rather than laying out the information on multiple screens as in Japan.