User Research in Japan

User Research in Japan

Remote or lab-based user research in Japan, with real customers and local, Senior UX Researchers

Japan is one of the largest markets, by GDP, in the world. However, it is mysterious and very different to almost any other market. For Western businesses thinking about organizing UX research or user research with their clients, it can be a daunting prospect. That is where UX24/7 comes in.

We are a global design research agency that operates with our own team of Senior UX Researchers. All our Senior UX Researchers have been evaluated as part of their joining process to ensure they have the skills, capabilities and experience to deliver user research and UX Research to the high standards we expect. Our team in Japan is similarly experienced and we have two accredited UX Research consultants in market.

Remote and lab-based user research in Japan

We run user research and UX research in Japan using remote and lab-based facilities. Remote methodologies use online screen sharing technologies. In Japan, as with many other markets, we use Zoom. It is well known and many Japanese people have used it and feel comfortable attending sessions using it.

For lab based testing we mainly focus on Tokyo. It is by far the largest city with a population of 8.3 million with the 2nd largest, Yokohama at 3.6 million. Despite the focus on Tokyo, we use facilities where our clients want the research to take place. We have various advanced testing kits that work in the various different facility set ups we utilize.

In all case we provide a viewing experience that includes picture-in-picture video and where required, simultaneous translation into whatever your native language is. Recordings of the sessions are also provided with your local language as well as with the Japanese original.

Finally, our Senior UX Researchers provide a detailed analysis from the session. Our deliverables include observations and issues together with analysis and actionable recommendations. Our team also speak English so we are able to deliver a playback session with you either in Japanese or English.

So, what are you waiting for? If you want to conduct user research in Japan, we can help.

Pictures from the lab when user research in Japan

Usability testing in Japan - 1
Usability testing in Japan - 1
Usability testing in Japan - 1

Quick facts about Japan:

  • Main language/s spoken: Japanese
  • Population: 126,144,824
  • Capital City: Tokyo
  • Secondary Cities: Osaka-Kobe; Nagoya; Fuoka-Kitakyushu; Sapporo; Sendai
  • Currency / monetary units used: Yen
  • Literacy: 99% (2020 est.)

Where in the world is: Japan

Map showing the location of Japan
Flag of Japan

UX Research and User Research in Japan

Participants in Japan tend not to openly disagree or criticize, and may well answer questions with neutral responses. Rephrasing questions away from the black and white of “what didn’t you like?” towards the area of “how would this better suit your needs?” is advised when moderating. Also, using metaphors can be helpful to allow indirect criticism.

The Japanese language can require a lot of reading between the lines. Simply using an interpreter when moderating will therefore not be sufficient. It is imperative in Japan to use a local UX Researcher.

Due to strict privacy laws, Japanese participants prefer not to use their own devices. This has eased as a result of the pandemic and as the use of remote research has increased.

Recruitment of participants is carried out via online surveys. Screener will therefore need to be converted into questionnaires so it is worth considering the structure in this format when first drafting.

Japanese people are generally very punctual. However, session times are strictly adhered to so if the session starts late it must still end on time.

In April/May Japan celebrate “Golden Week” which is a series of 5 days of holidays. This is the longest vacation period of the year and many people will take time off. It should therefore be avoided for user research in Japan.

National holidays

1st January New Year’s Day
2nd Monday of January Coming of Age Day
11th February National Foundation Day
23rd February The Emperor’s Birthday
20th March approx. Vernal Equinox Day
29th April Showa Day
3rd May Constitution Day
4th May Greenery Day
5th May Children’s Day
Third Monday of July Marine Day
11th August Mountain Day
3rd Monday of September Respect for the Aged Day
Around 23rd September Autumnal Equinox Day
2nd Monday of October Health and Sports Day
3rd November Culture Day
23rd November Labour Thanksgiving Day

International case study: User Research in Asia for Boden

Japan is just one of the markets where we organize and deliver international ux research and user research. If you have a requirement in Japan or any other market please get in touch using the form below and we will be happy to provide a no obligation quotation.