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Differences between American and Japanese User Experience

User Experience (UX) Design is a design process used to make products , services or systems easier for people to use. An important part of the UX design of the website is the design of the user interface (UI) that helps the user interact with the site. UI is a product , service, or system look and feel. As the realm of digital experience continues to grow, aesthetically pleasing user interfaces (UIs) are becoming a secondary element for attracting users. However, the adaptability of design across a variety of mediums allows UX designers not only to create smooth interactions with large UIs, but also designs that are localized for different cultures.When we analyze the user interface on various websites, we know that it is important to consider the effect and complexities of the cultural background and the needs of users. In this post, we look at American and Japanese UX design on various websites, examine specific touchpoints to remember when finding the UX design, and compare how users in Japan and America react to these touchpoints.

How UX and UI impact localization 

Let’s get one thing right, localization isn’t just translating stuff. Translation often neglects cultural differences and is not enough to reach or build trust with your target audience. Rather, translation shifts the look and sound of the company in order to suit the same definition in terms and images in the initial cultural context.Adapting user interfaces to different societies influences the overall user experience, and tends to relate the template to the user’s preferences and beliefs, and how the consumer interprets the details.

American and Japanese UI design elements 

Much of the user ‘s journey through the web interface is guided by learned visual cues. We’ll look at how these visual cues apply to color psychology, typography, organizational details, and the interface.

Psychology of light 

Color Psychology is one of the main factors that can influence the flow of the user, the path a user takes to accomplish a task, from one web page to another. For example, Japan ‘s association with red color contrasts with America’s interpretation of the same color. In Japanese UI design, red is correlated with boldness or positivity, while in the US, red is correlated with emphasis or error. As a result, experience will change based on color choices when creating a call-to – action (CTA) and may have an impact on conversion rates.When you can see in the photos above, the Japanese website of Rakuten utilizes red to draw visitors to its ads, while the American website promotes red shopping.


User interfaces are continuously filled with context and content, using typography to guide users through each web page. Typography is a key factor to remember while following a user ‘s progress which may change the user’s interaction on the website. Key characteristics in typography include legibility, scale and grammar. Those attributes define the content hierarchy and set the speed on how easily a consumer can evaluate a website. There are two approaches to categorize the architecture method to typography: systematic and descriptive.

The holistic design approach used in Japanese design requires the user to scroll through and analyze the entire web page before forming an opinion. That is why the material is more simplistic or unembellished and why Japanese users tend to use more typography than American users. Overall, it makes it easier for holistic users to view the page without interference from flashy or overemphasized graphical UI elements, such as icons or images.

The analytical design approach used in American design highlights varying typography and requires more structure to ensure that blocks of information stand out from each other. It relies on the use of proximity to stress how content is grouped and how each section can be processed. The usage of white space and differing font sizes is therefore important for analytical users to grasp details at a glance.


Hierarchy of American and Japanese websites 

Another key difference between Japanese and American web design is the hierarchy of information, because users in each country are used to different ways of viewing it. Hierarchy relates to the structure of typography and tells users where to check for different types of material.

Japan’s interface offers a sectioned structure, where more details can be displayed on a single screen. To separate typography and guide users, icons and symbols are used to bring attention to the list of categories on the side and on the top. 

On the other hand, the layout for Yahoo! in America uses white space to try to separate sections of information from each other. This technique utilizes differing amounts of details by visualization and minimal typography, as Americans have low reading attention span. Through finding material in order to match the intelligent structure of facts of the individual customers, Yahoo! is able to support the customer accomplish the same aim through utilizing various interface formats.


The structure of the website is indeed closely related to navigation. Navigation is generally the top bar that takes users where they want to go and generally helps users find the information they ‘re looking for in an app or website. It needs to be intuitive and transparent to all consumers. It’s one of the most important interactions there is because it manipulates and sets the pace of the user ‘s journey. If the navigation is not routed correctly, the user will not be able to find the page they are looking for, which disrupts the user’s flow and creates a negative user experience.

For example, when searching for specific products on Sony’s American and Japanese websites, we will compare the user journey.

On the Sony Japan website, the tab bar brings “Products” and “Services” together into one choice (“Products / Services”). When you click on the “Products / Service” option in the drop-down menu, the navigation bar will be extended to different categories, such as “Movies” or “Gaming & Network Service.” The search goes from a general search to a more specific search on each page and sets the pace of the search for specific products. By setting the hierarchy in sections, Japanese users will be given a more contextual view of the page options, which will lead the user to the desired product after clicking through more pages.The utilization of a systematic method offers consumers additional context, such as the new product details and reviews for related products.

On the other hand, Sony USA uses an analytical design approach and focuses on the specific needs of users by setting out all categories and first listing all departments within their respective categories. The categories are designed to streamline the process and save time, unlike Sony Japan ‘s design of multi-screen information. Usually Americans want to use the least amount of time to find what they need, so navigation needs to be as efficient and intuitive to keep up with that pace.


If looking at variations in architecture, remember various channels and how each interface is structured to reach the viewer. 

Japan is the first mobile country to access the web. Years ago, it was expensive to create both mobile and desktop versions of the website, so Japanese companies chose between the two and decided what the majority of users wanted:Mobile-friendly websites. As a result , companies optimized the Japanese UI design of their mobile sites. Nowadays, more and more Japanese websites consider it necessary to integrate more fluidity between mobile and desktop, as it aims at more consumers accessing their websites and rendering them compliant with multiple platforms.

On the other hand , American customers want seamless experience when it comes to consuming content, from mobile phones to tablets to computers. With most US websites, the user interface and user experience design are designed to be responsive, whether on the desktop or mobile.

Considering how to build user journeys for Japan and America on each platform, whether smartphone or online, is key to developing better user experiences. In addition, building websites that seamlessly transition to multiple platforms is easier than ever with website building sites, such as Squarespace and Wix, to create easy and powerful experiences.


The purpose of the UX design of American and Japanese websites is to provide users with the same overall experience given cultural differences. Five of the most critical things to remember when localizing the concept include colour psychology, typography, hierarchy, layout, and platforms.Purely importing material by utilizing the same gui template may not function as well if the target market has already gained information from their environments, such as what to expect from the navigation bar or how colors are represented. It is therefore vital to create a successful user experience, taking into account the cultural context. As the word goes, “When in Rome, Do as the Romans do.”