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5 lessons from Japanese website designs

Back in 2014, we published an interesting selection of designs for Japanese anime sites. Surely you realize that the work there is quite specific and original. They are very different from the generally accepted standard approaches to web design, say, in Europe or the USA. The visual design of Japanese online sites is very colorful, it uses a lot of different colorful graphics, images, plus pages are literally “stuffed” with texts.

Many users perceive such web projects is difficult, they look confusing and even a little annoying in places. However, as correctly noted in the comments on the previous article, this approach to design is a consequence of specific cultural traditions. During the time of isolation from the outside world there formed its own trends in art, which are expressed also when creating web design.

Despite the rather atypical approaches, there are a few things you can learn from Japanese online sites. Here are 5 simple lessons, the article is a translation of this note.

1. Information
Customers expect companies to be able to get the most information about goods or services (from detailed specifications to warranty conditions). All aspects must be spelled out and explained in detail so that the buyer knows exactly what he is acquiring. In Japan, attempts to deceive a visitor when certain nuances are hidden are unacceptable, and only talk about them if someone asks.

Lesson: respect for the client is a very important (if not key) factor. Of course, suppressing the visitor’s attention with a lot of information is not the best option, but he should have access to all the data regarding your product, if he wishes. You can hide part of the text on the page and open it upon request, or place links to PDF files with descriptions and specifications of devices.

2. Details
The design of Japanese sites does not follow the principle of “less is more“. Here, the more different elements there are on the page, the better it will be. Perhaps this is due to the influence of Japanese art, known for its detail.

Lesson: try to be more attentive to details on the site, and not just check the functionality of all links. Carefully analyze each element of the page, and also make sure that it is really useful for the reader / buyer.

3. Color
The Japanese love bright colors that can be seen not only on sites. If you have never been to this country, then for sure the image of Tokyo streets in your imagination is full of tall buildings with fluorescent blinking advertisements. In the land of the rising sun, color is more important, including when creating web design.

Lesson: use different colors not only to make the site beautiful, but also to interact with users. It is scientifically proven that a certain color palette evokes certain emotions. Therefore, choose colors wisely, and try to find out more information about their effects on humans.

4. Space
Japan is an archipelago of 6852 islands, covering only 377.9 thousand square kilometers, with 126.9 million inhabitants. That is, the country has the 10th largest population in the world, but at the same time it is only 62th in terms of territory. This, in principle, explains why space plays an important role and why Japanese online sites often look so crowded. “Every pixel” is literally involved here, the developers know how to get the most out of it.

Lesson: the advice here is extremely simple – try to use every element / part of the design to the maximum benefit.

5. Simplicity
Despite the use of almost the entire space, the concept of simplicity is rooted in the basis of Japanese culture. Do not be fooled by a large number of different elements on a web page. For our users, all this may seem like an incomprehensible heap, but these objects are there for a reason. In addition, there is nothing complicated in the design elements themselves – they are simple and understandable for perception by any user.

Lesson: do not complicate. People are now constantly busy, and no one wants to spend a lot of time searching for information on the site. Improve interface designs and increase their efficiency – no need to add extra irrelevant functions. The more convenient the site, the longer users stay on it and the more traffic you get in the end.

As you can see, Japanese sites have a lot to learn. To summarize all 5 lessons, the final tip looks something like this – respect your client, be attentive to details, effectively using the color scheme and every pixel of the screen, but do not complicate the site itself. Despite the fact that many Japanese designs may seem strange, the 4th world GDP indicator of $ 5 trillion, as it were, hints at the fact that they can do business and effective sites there.

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