Some, but not nearly enough has been written about this from the Western perspective. Why do even the biggest and most highly trafficked sites in Japan, like yahoo.jp here, look like this?
Trying to find the answer is a great lesson in checking your biases and assumptions at the door about culture, design, and UX. It’s been particularly on my mind lately with a new project I’ve got in the oven. But it’s also nagged at me ever since my days on the web team at Nintendo, when we often had to localize the Japanese game sites for American audiences, that were designed with Japanese sensibilities in mind. Here’s a more elegant snippet on Sony’s Japanese site, but still, what’s with all that copy in each of those promos?
Here’s some great reading on the subject from Tuts Plus and Randomwire. I’m hoping to be able to shed some new light on this subject myself in the future… Soon come.
Big in Japan: Web Design in the Land of the Rising Sun