JIN-189 -- And the Worst Corporate Web Site Belongs To...

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J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
T H E J @ P A N I N C N E W S L E T T E R
Commentary on the Week's Business and Technology News
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Issue No. 189
Wednesday, July 17, 2002
Tokyo

CONTENTS

++ Viewpoint: And the Worst Corporate Web Site Belongs To...

++ Noteworthy News
- DoCoMo to Set Up European Consulting Firm for I-mode
- Sharp Announces It's Bullish on China
- IY Bank May Let Cellphones Do the ATM Banking
++ Event (advertisement)

++ VIEWPOINT: And the Worst Corporate Web Site Belongs To...

Toyota. Its Japanese Web site sucks. At least that's what most
information architects would tell you if you showed it to them. Just
yesterday Adam Greenfield, senior information architect of
Frontage-Razorfish in Tokyo, gave a seminar describing precisely what
the vague term 'information architect' means and why these abstract
builders are so necessary to the Japanese web.

Information architecture combines art and science in an intuitive way
to facilitate access to information. Or at least that's how Greenfield
put it. Applied to the Web, this simply means making the user
experience as simple and straightforward as possible in an effort to
meet the business goals of a Web site.

When Razorfish plans out a Japanese Web site, it first comes up with a
set of 'user personae.' These personae represent clumps of generalized
users of the site. For example on a computer hardware dealer site,
there may be only two groups: those looking to buy a new computer and
those looking for parts to upgrade. The site layout and design can
then be based around these two groups of people, and the focus can be
placed on these two purchasing goals.

The two main questions information architects ask are "What is this
site for?" and "Who is this site for?" During his seminar, Adam went
on to explain exactly what was wrong with Toyota of Japan's completely
user-unfriendly site (http://www.toyota.co.jp/index.html). It goes
without saying that most users going to a carmaker's Web site are
looking for information on purchasing a car. The Japanese Toyota site
instead prominently displays press releases and internal corporate
information (that no one outside of Toyota would really care about).

The result is a cluttered front page that distracts and confuses the
user. Furthermore, when you click on the dealer locator button at the
top, you are then presented with a series of options based on the
structure of Toyota the company
(http://www.toyota.co.jp/dealer/index.html).
Most users probably do not picture the Toyota brand as
being split into Toyopet and Corolla et cetera, but that's how the
site is divided. The result is a Web site which clearly did not ask,
"Who is this site for?"

In contrast, the American Toyota Web site
(http://www.toyota.com/index3.html) is clean and uncluttered. And when
you click on the dealer locator button
(http://www.toyota.com/html/shop/dealers/index2.html) you are presented
with a screen to input your zip code. Once you do that you are given a
list of the nearest dealerships, maps to the stores, dealership specific
specials and any services (such as oil changes) that the dealership
provides. Clearly Toyota's American Web site was designed with the
user in mind.

This is just one example of thousands upon thousands of Web sites that
have been produced without proper forethought. Greenfield and his
fellow IAs are passionately trying to end this. They're working on
sites that flow with the user, one client at a time.

-- Craig Mod

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email: peter@japaninc.com
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++ NOTEWORTHY NEWS
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

** DoCoMo to Set Up European Consulting Firm for I-mode

In Brief: In another sign of just how important the European market is
to NTT DoCoMo, the company announced on Tuesday that it plans to set
up a consulting firm in the Netherlands later this month to promote
i-mode. The new unit will be called DoCoMo i-mode Europe BV, according
to wire reports.

Links:
"I-mode Goes Continental" from March 2002 issue of J@pan Inc
http://www.japaninc.net/article.php?articleID=750

"I-mode Hits Europe, But So What?" from March 2002 issue
http://www.japaninc.net/article.php?articleID=757

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** Sharp Announces It's Bullish on China

In Brief: Sharp announced on Wednesday that it plans to boost its
China sales in 2004 by three times the 2001 levels to about 350
billion yen. It also plans to get the Chinese to buy more of the Sharp
goods produced in China. Currently, 40 percent of the products it
makes in China are bought there; by 2004 the company wants that
rate to be 60 percent. Sharp is especially bullish on sales of its LCD
TVs, copy machines, cellphones and solar-battery powered goods. Sharp
makes 17 different products in its China factories.

Source:
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20020717-00000488-jij-bus_all

Link:
"Limping Toward China" from the March 2002 issue of J@pan Inc
http://www.japaninc.net/article.php?articleID=749

** IY Bank May Let Cellphones Do the ATM Banking

In Brief: IY Bank says it is considering adopting a system that would
let people do their ATM banking via their cellphones. The system would
allow people with NTT DoCoMo's i504 handset use the infrared function
to access the ATMs. The online bank, which is an affiliate of retailer
Ito-Yokado, makes most of its money on ATM transactions.

Source:
http://sg.biz.yahoo.com/020716/15/30jyu.html

++ Event (advertisement)

LOOKING BEYOND: ASIA PACIFIC TOUR 2002 -- Tokyo July 19 13:00-17:30
(Networking cocktail from 17:30)
Satyam Computer Services in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon Univ.
invites you to take part in 'Process Improvement: A Foundation for
Business Excellence.' Dr. William E. Hefley, Associate Director,
IT Services Qualification Center of CMU, globally recognized for
releasing the family of CMM models (ex. SW-CMM, CMMi), will deliver
the keynote on eServices Capability Model-the new emerging process
framework for IT enabled outsourcing services

For a complimentary invitation, please contact:
CMUseminar@gmacjapan.com

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