graphics

Deciphering The Curious Case of How Japanese Web Design Works [Op-Ed]

Deciphering The Curious Case of How Japanese Web Design Works [Op-Ed] 0

  Japan, home to gorgeous aesthetics and the forerunner of minimalism; from fashion to architecture, they seem to have it all figured out. I am particularly fond of Japanese anime and manga: the way they combine storytelling and art has forever imprinted the way I want to tell my own stories. However, their track record of beautiful aesthetics comes to a screeching halt(!) when you check out some of their websites. They are incredibly cluttered, with no regard for basic design rules, nor taking navigation into consideration. They are quite reminiscent of traditional print newspapers of yesteryears, chock-full with text. But why is this so? Let’s analyze the patterns of these websites and break them down. But first, let’s take a look at some Japanese websites and see if you and I are on the same page, with the same observations. Are you ready? Rakuten
Kakaku
Goo
Livedoor
Hatena
Sankei
Now, I’m pretty sure that we have observed the same things about Japanese web design. To cut the story short:
  • Japanese websites are very heavy in text.
  • Heavy, HEAVY use of whitespace.
  • Tons of (blue-colored!) hyperlinks and URLs.
  • Advertisements, lots and lots of advertisements.
  • Nearly no images, or if they are present, they are very small ones.
  • Absolute disregard for an easy flow for the eyes to focus on.
  • Flash-heavy. For banners, advertisements and slideshows.
Looking at them, these websites are almost like remnants of the 80’s and 90’s, when HTML was the crowning glory of web design. Some are even reminiscent of newspapers, see how dense the rows and columns are with text. It is interesting to note that these websites all share these characteristics. Almost as if they were all designed with the same idea in mind. Now, what could that idea possibly be? To figure this out, let’s take a look at the following.

Mobile Culture in Japan

Before smartphones became a worldwide craze, Japan was already doing their own thing, years in advance. Mobile phone usage was such an ingrained part of their lives that they coined a term for it: mobile phone culture, or keitai culture. Before smartphones, there were camera phones, an industry that Japan was leading far ahead than the rest of the world. J-SH04, a mobile phone made by Sharp Corporation and released by J-Phone, started marketing in November 2000. It was touted as the first real camera phone, and could send MMS, e-mails, and even came with 3G technology.
Then came NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode, a mobile internet service got more than 50 million users within the first 3 years alone. Various services were launched and modified to go hand in hand with this new technology, and with that, several websites had mobile versions created. Because this was the 2000s, and mobile phone technology wasn’t that advanced, a lot of focus was placed on making websites easy to navigate and view on a mobile phone. While larger companies had the resources to create these separate designs for mobile users, smaller companies had to opt for single designs that were easy to view on both the computer and mobile phones. With that in mind, it suddenly makes sense why these websites look like they should be viewed on a phone – because they have to be! As for the advertisements, Japanese corporations see websites as what they used to be: another way to advertise their product or the products of their partners. This is why these websites turn into the nightmare of every anti-ad freak. Whitespace on the sides of the website are filled with animated advertisements. To the untrained eye, it becomes difficult to determine what is an ad and what is part of the actual website.

Web Design with the End User in Mind

Another important factor to note is that this type of web design did not result as a mere coincidence. Aside from optimizing them for mobile use, they were designed with the end user’s expectations in mind. A Japanese user experience architect offers his own perspective on things, stating that these types of web designs stem from the very Japanese attitude of passivity. This means that as much as possible, information should be presented to them without them having to ask or poke around too much – kind of like offering them a very informative brochure. This is different from Western web design, as they focus more on combining both being eye candy yet informative enough without overloading the user. What also has to be considered is the popular browser of choice. For the longest of time, Internet Explorer has proven to be the popular go to choice for users (click the link first before you start tsk-ing). As such, websites are designed with this in mind, and with IE, your choice for fancy website design is severely crippled. This, on the other hand, is alleviated with the heavy use of colors, which are reminiscent of the neon lights of the Tokyo cityscapes.

Linguistic Difference

Last but not least, Japanese typography also plays a large role. To the untrained eye, the unknown characters and symbols will appear cluttered and chaotic, as there is nothing to properly focus on (other than images, maybe). Japanese websites also tend to incorporate text into images, so when translated, it adds to the chaotic and unfinished feel. The seemingly wordiness of the websites can also be explained as thus. Designers try to present as much information as possible, and while this may seem like a case of information overload, in a language you are familiar with say, English, this design is no different than the Yahoo! landing page. There are links that take you everywhere, and text no matter where you look. It is not very pleasing to the eye, but it makes it easy to find information that you want and need somewhat easier. That said, the trend these types of website design will probably keep up for a longer while, still. Although some companies have started breaking the mold, Japan’s attitude of conforming to things has allowed this type of design to survive for decades. With the rest of the world catching up with the mobile trend, let’s hope that Japan will do the reverse for the browser versions of websites.  
Webdesigner Depot Redesign (now with apps)

Webdesigner Depot Redesign (now with apps) 0

http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2016/03/webdesigner-depot-redesign-now-with-apps/                

After many months of hard work, this week we’ve unveiled our latest redesign…

When Webdesigner Depot first launched in 2010, the Web was a very different place. Back then, the way we all consumed content online was radically different. The last few years have seen an explosion in mobile use, and a huge diversification of technology. The new Web needs a new Webdesigner Depot. Long term readers will recognize the same features they’ve always enjoyed, but we hope that our new additions will prove equally popular. Our redesign should feel “familiar” to our most loyal readers and at the same time faster, fresher and different. The layout has been simplified, enabling a more consistent experience across a full range of devices and viewports. The site looks great both on desktop and mobile devices, especially on smartphones where the entire design has been reworked for a better mobile experience. Adverts have been moved beneath the fold, to give greater focus to the latest stories. The new hierarchy makes it easier to discover new stories. Articles now display their estimated total reading time as well as the option to read them in either a serif or sans serif font by controlling this via the right floating sidebar. While we were redesigning the site, we took the opportunity to reflect on our branding. We’ve reworked our color palette to create a more engaging contemporary experience with blue hues and the familiar yellow tones. We’ve also changed our logo, simplifying its shape to increase legibility, especially on mobile devices. logos The typography is dramatically different and more refined than our previous version. Everyone’s seen Proxima Nova time and time again and it was time to change direction. Our headings are now set on Titling Gothic and body text is set on Benton Sans. Our first serif font in use here on WDD is now available as an an option for reading articles and uses Tiempos Text. Finally, our Quotes App also uses Open Sans. Throughout the site, you’ll find great new transition effects, as well as a few nifty animations. For us, without doubt, one of the most exciting additions to the new site is the launch of our new Apps section, transforming WDD from just a blog to a full hub for designers and developers. Time and time again or inboxes are filled with requests for advice on resources, events, and professional practice; we decided that it was time to help the community by curating comprehensive information on all of the topics we’re regularly quizzed. We’re launching the Apps section with 17 diverse apps and we will be adding many more in the future. Here you’ll find amazing content that professional web designers need to produce great work, from resources to inspiration, from curated downloads to the latest from Behance and Dribbble among others. Vectors app   The Photos app is packed with tons of free images for use in your projects while the Vectors app provides more free downloads for vector files. If you’re looking for inspiration, you’ll find it in the form of Interviews, Podcasts, Videos and inspirational Quotes. apps-menuThe Codepen, Scripts and Github apps give you access to the pick of scripts, perfect for developers, all neatly presented for quick reference. Find yourself a new Book to learn something new or take advantage of one of our amazing discounted Deals via our sister site Mighty Deals. The Play app is the place to have some fun,  watch some eye candy as well as cool interactive code, fun HTML5 games, exciting demos, and more. Catch up on the latest Events for designers and developers from around the world, or have some laughs with our exclusive comics, now also available under the Comics app. The heart of Webdesigner Depot is still the daily blog that you’re used to, and we’ve focused our redesign on enhancing your reading experience by reducing clutter and improving typography. We love bringing you the latest news, views, and techniques from across the web everyday, and our new site will help us do so more effectively than ever before. We hope you enjoy the redesign and feel free to leave us feedback and requests for new apps and features….  And don’t forget to subscribe to our very popular newsletter for all the latest news and cool stuff happening in the web design world. Enjoy the new redesign, the cool new apps and thank you for being part of our community!
Web Development Reading List #129: CSRF, Modern Tooling And The UX Of Web Fonts

Web Development Reading List #129: CSRF, Modern Tooling And The UX Of Web Fonts 0

https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2016/03/web-development-reading-list-129/ Infographic explaining CSRF Every week I learn so many new things about front-end development. By building various kinds of projects, by talking to other developers, by reading new articles. Of course, it can be overwhelming, but to me this is the best part of the job. By sharing and talking to other people, my job gets more interesting. For example, this week I learned how to build malicious links with target="_blank", I learned how CSRF works, and how important it is that an icon clearly indicates what it is thought for — the latter after I implemented the icons and only found some of them helpful as I saw the fallback/title text for them. Always stay curious. The post Web Development Reading List #129: CSRF, Modern Tooling And The UX Of Web Fonts appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

The7 Reasons You Need a Customizable WP Theme for Your Projects 0

http://webdesignledger.com/the7-reasons-need-customizable-wp-theme-projects/ 4 A small business’s success is often based on how well it is able to project its brand, and the way in which it presents its projects or services to clients and customers. Some WordPress Themes can in fact place definite limitations on the degree to which a website can be customized to meet its owner’s unique needs. The7 WordPress theme avoids these design impediments and limitations. It permits a high degree of customization, which in turn yields a number of important benefits.
  1. Making Your Website “Yours”
It’s in your best interest, and in the best interest of your business, to have complete control over your website’s design. This is where customization comes into play. A website-building tool that makes customizing easy gives a website’s owner greater control over its design. 1_1
Skins and other customization options that are available in The7 WordPress Theme
This is especially important if someone else is building your website for you, since ease in customizing promotes and simplifies collaboration between designer and client. The designer doesn’t have to go through hoops and hurdles to give you what you want. The7’s more than 630 theme options give him more time to be creative, while avoiding having to wrestle with the limitations often inherent in templates while attempting to achieve a certain look.  
  1. Branding Takes No Time at All
The7’s Theme Option Wizard provides an ideal solution to branding a website. Simply upload the logo, choose the website layout, select the colors and fonts for your page, adjust a few settings, and the let the Wizard do the rest. 2_1
Some of the typography customization options available in the The7 WordPress Theme
The web designer can take care of any fine tuning needed, but the fine tuning will usually not amount to much. If the design requires any additional enhancements, incorporating them will rarely be a problem.  
  1. Build Strikingly Beautiful Pages Without a Need for Coding Skills
When you use a tool like The7 theme, you don’t have to rely on programming skills to get your design just right. Take the The7 theme, add Visual Composer (VC) to the mix, and you can drag, drop, and edit your way to the finished product, without any need for coding. The VC plugin is so popular, and so widely used, that web designers often use it instead of using a given WordPress theme’s recommended page builder. VC is fast and easy to use. Applying this outstanding combination of The7 and VC means savings for the client, and greater productivity and more customers for the designer.
  1. Unique Designs – an Emerging Trend
3_1
A few of the page customization options available in the The7 WordPress Theme
No matter whether a business is large or small, the era of carbon-copy or lookalike websites appears to be drawing to a close. Website uniqueness is the current trend. Uniqueness is especially important in business sectors where competition is stiff. A business’s website has to make a statement; and one of the only ways to accomplish that is through a design effort that relies heavily on tools that promote customization. A highly customized website not only makes a statement, but it can be easily updated as needed when you have a tool like The7 theme to work with.
  1. Solid Development and Ready-Made Skins
It seems counterintuitive, but customizing does not need to be accompanied with a hefty price tag. The7 takes the burden of customizing out of the hands of the designer, who does not have to resort to code or to a trial-and-error process to get things right. The7 is extremely affordable. This theme saves the designer time and frustration, and it saves the client money. The library of 25 skins can be used as-is, or for fine-tuning purposes to make a completed website even more unique.
  1. You Never Have to Say “I Can’t Do That”
4 It’s never fun to have to bypass an offer or assignment because you don’t have the necessary tools or skill set for the work to be done. If a WP theme does not easily permit a high degree of customization, it will limit what you can do with it. Creating a truly unique website should not be a challenge as long as you (and/or your client) know the details of its appearance and function; and you have the right tools for the job. With The7 at your fingertips, you can give your clients personalized designs that best fit their business needs.
  1. There is Nothing Like Adding Value to Make Clients Come Back for More
When you build a website for a client, you are taking design ideas or requirements and adding value to them; which is exactly what that client is looking for. Small businesses that decide to do their own work due to limited resources will at times select WP themes that have certain limitations. These limitations may not be obvious, but they can prevent these businesses from achieving the highly customized websites they are looking for, resulting in money that is wasted or not well spent. Anytime you can offer clients beautiful, custom-designed websites by adding value to their requirements, that added value will have those clients asking for more. There’s More 5 The7 is more than a theme that happens to feature the popular VC page-building plug in. It features 630+ theme options, the Theme Options Wizard, and 25 skins. In addition, the VC functionalities have been expanded through the Ultimate Addons and The7 Elements features. The Ultimate Addons feature significantly extends VC’s potential. These extras, which come at no extra cost, allow you to build any imaginable, highly-customizable layout to showcase and impress visitors. All of this can be summarized rather succinctly. The7 is the most customizable, and most easily customizable WordPress theme on the market. It has all the tools you need to build a website that can keep pace with an emerging marketing trend – unique websites that truly belong to their owners. Read More at The7 Reasons You Need a Customizable WP Theme for Your Projects
J Desenhos’ Mind-Blowing 3D Artwork is Something You Need to See

J Desenhos’ Mind-Blowing 3D Artwork is Something You Need to See 0

João A. Carvalho aka J Desenhos owns a community Facebook page called Nas linhas do caderno, which translates to “The Lines Notebook” (thanks Google Translate!). In it, he shares amazing artwork by plenty of talented artists, including his own work. João draws and doodles on notebooks much like any bored teenager would do at school, but unlike a regular teenager, his artwork will melt your brain. He was only 15 when he started drawing mind-bending masterpieces, using shading and drawing bending blue lines to add to the effect. A year later, he’s breaking dimensions, creating art thatliterally pop out at you. To see more of his work, check out his Instagram page.
 
Making A WordPress Plugin That Uses Service APIs, “From Soup To Nuts”

Making A WordPress Plugin That Uses Service APIs, “From Soup To Nuts” 0

https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2016/03/making-a-wordpress-plugin-that-uses-service-apis/ Making A WordPress Plugin That Uses Service APIs, “From Soup To Nuts” An increasingly large number of publicly available APIs provide powerful services to expand the functionality of our applications. WordPress is an incredibly dynamic and flexible CMS that powers everything from small personal blogs to major e-commerce websites and everything in between. Part of what makes WordPress so versatile is its powerful plugin system, which makes it incredibly easy to add functionality. We will walk through how I made GitHub Pipeline, a plugin that allows you to display data from the GitHub API on WordPress pages using shortcodes. I’ll give specific examples and code snippets, but consider the technique described here a blueprint for how to consume any service API with a plugin. We’ll start from the beginning, but a degree of familiarity with WordPress and plugin development is assumed, and we won’t spend time on beginner topics, like installing WordPress or Composer. The post Making A WordPress Plugin That Uses Service APIs, “From Soup To Nuts” appeared first on Smashing Magazine.
Daily Inspiration #2338

Daily Inspiration #2338 0

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/abduzeedo/~3/1XXo21Vbs8Q/daily-inspiration-2338
Daily Inspiration #2338
This post is part of our daily series of posts showing the most inspiring images selected by some of the Abduzeedo’s writers and users. If you want to participate and share your graphic design inspiration, You can submit your images and inspiration to RAWZ via http://raw.abduzeedo.com and don’t forget to send your Abduzeedo username; or via Twitter sending to http://twitter.com/abduzeedo

AoiroStudio

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Designspiration.net

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Fabio

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Fabiano

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

linxspiration

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

SerialThriller

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Send your suggestions via Twitter to http://twitter.com/abduzeedo using #abdz in the end of the tweet.

FromUpNorth

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

Digital art selected for the Daily Inspiration #2338

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