I'm doing a research on the best practices to create a friendly UX on Japanese/Western websites.

One thing I noticed (I'm not sure if is common and a Japanese pattern) is the button positions, specially buttons to proceed/submit a form.

I believe that in Western culture people tend to add the button green on the right side and cancel red or gray on the left. For Japanese, I feel it's common to use the left side as confirmation/proceed the page and sometimes I'm not sure the color represents the proceeding, negative or positive actions.

Is there a pattern or known knowledge about that? Besides button positions there are advices or also any other examples of those differences?

  • no proof.... but I would guess this is because Japanese books read from right to left (even though the modern language is from left to right), so the confirm button on the left naturally "pulls" towards turning the page. Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 8:10
  • It is interesting that you are making the comparison between Japanese and Western website... there are probably lots of variation in Western websites, unless you are talking about US/UK standards. For what it is worth, there are probably lots of variations with other Asian countries as well, so you might want to define the 'Western' websites for a more accurate answer.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 11:34
  • @MichaelLai Maybe the best way to describe is "non-Japanese websites". My intention was not compare or make a simple judgement, but try to understand a little bit more the way Japanese websites deal with confirmation buttons position (はい、いいえ) and specific UX patterns.
    – Igor O
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 15:16

1 Answer 1


While I can't answer for Japanese/Western cultures, I can present the cases for Windows/OSX.

For some work I did for a large banking company a long time ago, I made a study into button positions. It's really difficult to find concrete sources for this but I came away with the notion that both parties expressed 'reading order' as a key value when ordering buttons. For Windows this meant putting the most desired/relevant action first in the list of things to read:

[+/Prev] [-/Next] [Do] [Don't Do/Reset] [Cancel/Close] [Pseudo-Do] [Info/Help]

This was compiled by looking at key forms and dialogue boxes within the Windows OS and noting the order that buttons appeared in. Not every form included all the buttons mentioned but the ordering of buttons that did appear maintained the relationships shown.

My study was specifically geared to users of the platform we were preparing - they were 98.5% Windows users so I didn't prepare a definitive button ordering for OSX. However, the scant research that I did do for this showed that OSX favoured a reading order with the most desired option/most relevant option last - presumably this was so that it would naturally form the terminal point of a Gutenberg Reading Gravity pattern... or so that the user wouldn't have to return to the beginning of the list after reading all the available options.

There is a possibility that designers in Japan use Windows more than OSX and are duly influenced by that but that would be difficult to prove conclusively.

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