Designing a screen for Japanese People

Designing a screen for Japanese People

I've learned that designing for Japanese is quite different from Designing for Indonesian, or might be different with other countries too?
September 5, 2021

. . .

Originally posted on my Twitter in Indonesian πŸ‘‰πŸ» Link to thread


During my first 4 months in Japanese Company, I adjust my design style quite a lot. Because, what good means for Indonesian is a bit different from what good means for Japanese people. I once did Concept Test for my design and several user called it "unclear" πŸ₯²

I try to summarize some of what I learned here πŸ‘‡πŸ»

#1 - Information must be clear

The reason why my design is called "unclear" by the user is because my design is too clean and minimalist. Which is my assumption if in Indonesia is fine when making it that way. So I'm making items cards like that on a screen.


In my design, I only show the product name, price (+ discount), and seller's name. Meanwhile, many users ask for review info, the amount purchased, how many eligible coupons are there for that item. They also think it's important to put the shipping cost up front, so if the cost doesn't match, they don't need to open PDP.


And when I take a look at the local eCommerce, there is really a lot information in one product card πŸ˜…

My hypothesis is, yes they don't mind reading as long as they get clear information before deciding to go ahead. Whether it's buying goods, reading the news, or whatever.


I once said, Information is very important for Japanese people, it is also proven from the difference between Marie Kondo Global & Marie Kondo Japan youtube thumbnails πŸ‘‡πŸ»

Konmari youtube thumbnail US version
Konmari youtube thumbnail JP version


Again? Here is the Ant-man movie poster that localized to Japanese market. The difference between global movie poster & Japan movie poster πŸ‘‡πŸ»

#2 - Information > Image

Continued from the previous point, because they don't mind reading something long. As long as it clear for them. Pictures are not the main content to trigger people to click, in the context of my work: triggers to read the news.


One great example, Let's see the design made by yahoo designers to localize their designs for the Japan market and compare them with yahoo Indonesia version πŸ‘‡πŸ»

yahoo ID version
yahoo JP version

Even in the Japan design version, new/trending news, just use text, there's no pictures at all πŸ˜…

While in Indonesia, we usually use a big picture to trigger it to read the article, don't forget to add the clickbait title 😝


#3 - Color Psychology

This is also quite unique. The most obvious is the Red. In Japan, red is associated with Boldness or Positivity. Meanwhile, in my experience, Red in Indonesia is for emphasis errors or warnings.


Great example of localize again, Rakuten Japan vs Rakuten Europe.
In Rakuten Japan, everything related to SALE or promo, using red. While in the Europe, use orange or blue.πŸ‘‡πŸ»

Rakuten JP version
Rakuten EU version


Even at my office, red is the color of the main channel, which is γƒˆγƒƒγƒ—  チャネル. The red color is also the color of something that must be noticed, such as coupons, notifications, etc.


#4 - Relevancy

I don't think it's only in Japan, but wherever relevance is important, it should be. But here, I have to adjust the relevance from the Japan user's point of view.


Why? Because if you see the population continues to decrease in Japan from year to year (+covid in last 2 yr). Users aged 40 years and above, is more than users aged 40 years and below. πŸ‘‡πŸ»

What is relevant to us, is not necessarily relevant to them. That's why I sometimes try to do surveys, interviews and sometimes chat with colleagues who are originally from Japan. So that I can at least guess what is relevant to them. Where the project that I'm working on should be "Give a Recommendation".


And most of them often read the channel まとめ, aka Humor.

It's a little less relevant, if I offering an apple watch to a 75 year old person who is reading a humorous article.


End of Thread. Thanks for reading!

Giving back to the community!

No matter how much you know, there’s always more to learn. I'm humbled to be able to give back to the community through ADPList. It's completely free. Let's learn from each other here.

Book 30 minutes call for free!

Let's talk about portfolio review, brainstorming, career advice, or just casual sharing chat. ✌🏻