It’s been a while since my last post. Apologies.
Over the last few years I was busy focusing on running an app agency in Australia and blogging for that, but just recently, I sold up and moved to Japan for a new adventure.
Everyone knows that visiting another country usually comes with some culture shock, noticing the day to day differences and ways of life, and moving to a new country is ten fold.
Getting deeper into every day life rather than just the tourist bit, organising a bank account, registering at the ward office and finding good cheese was all a struggle just because it’s all done a little differently (not to mention the language barrier as well).
So it’s no surprise that after I landed a job here in Tokyo, I was again, in for some shocks. Luckily, my company is very international, so language is not such a big problem but I did quickly notice that I had some learning to do.
I design UI / UX at a small startup in Tokyo. We are building a really cool money transfer app that will be the first of it’s kind in Japan.
One thing I have learnt since working here is:
Take what you know with a grain of salt.
I don’t mean everything you were taught is now wrong, but there will be times when you know something works back home but is just different now.
The information divide.
The first thing I noticed, while researching popular Japanese apps and websites is how much information is shown on the one screen. It’s quite incredible. I thought it was just that web design styles were a little behind here but thats not the case at all.
Some websites are beautiful and cutting edge, other are packed to the brim with content in your face.
After doing some basic wireframe user testing, it started to become clear. People like to see everything, and be in control. Progressive disclosure (only showing what is needed until more information is requested) makes people feel like they are missing out on something.
Web designs started to make more sense. Apps started to make more sense. Especially apps with a Japanese version and international version. It’s obvious the design talent is around to make nice clean apps but sometimes that’s not what people want.
Rakuten.co.jp VS Rakuten Global
It certainly explains why Yahoo won over google. http://www.yahoo.co.jp/
Another surprise was around making a transaction in the app.
You choose a friend, you put the money in, you add a comment and hit go. Quickly confirm and it’s sent. Simple right?
Hold on, maybe not.
After doing some A/B testing with a few different prototypes, using different flows & interactions, I found that people didn’t mind tapping and navigating a whole lot more to feel in control. Especially as we are dealing with money, people don’t want to make mistakes. So instead of 4 taps, its more like 7 taps and some added friction to make the user feel safe.
With that said, this could be affected a little by the money factor, but between my international friends and Japanese friends, the results certainly did sway a bit.
In the end
As a result, I have tried to hit a good mix of both minimalism and enough information to keep people happy and in control of their money.
It certainly grounded me a little and made me remember that you always need to ask real people to get real feedback.😉