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  • - The internet in Japan looks different.

  • In a world of minimalist designs and large clean images,

  • websites in Japan seem to mirror

  • the language and culture of their home,

  • colorful and a little cramped.

  • At least that's according to a theory I read back in 2013

  • and have shared with a bunch of people since.

  • There's just one problem.

  • I don't know if it's true, so let's fix that.

  • In this video, we use an AI to figure out

  • what's so special about Japanese web design

  • and how even across an ocean it impacts you today.

  • I think I might give up.

  • Thank you to Hostinger for sponsoring this video.

  • Let's start off with how I realized

  • that I may have been lying to people for the past decade.

  • I was setting up a website to document an old project.

  • While scrolling through the templates,

  • the following three thoughts passed through my head.

  • One, "Wow, these themes are really minimalist."

  • Two, "Remember how Japan, a nation known for minimalism,

  • ironically has really cluttered webpages?"

  • And three, "How did I know that?"

  • Has that ever happened to you?

  • Like you accept something as fact when you're a kid,

  • but now that your prefrontal cortex has finished developing,

  • you think back and you're like,

  • hold on, my spider sense is tingling.

  • What could possibly be so special about Japan

  • that they just decide to have different web design practices

  • than the rest of the world apparently?

  • And even if the article was true, it came out 10 years ago.

  • I don't know if it's still true. This is the internet.

  • Twitter was normal one day

  • and then it might be dead by the time you watch this,

  • to be honest.

  • The internet moves fast.

  • So in this video, I wanna put the theory to a modern test.

  • I wanna see if there is something unique

  • about Japanese web design, and if there is, why?

  • Am I just overcompensating

  • because I realize I've been doing misinformation?

  • Probably.

  • Let's do this.

  • So I tweeted this, "Are you in Asia?

  • Have you been using the internet

  • over the past 5 to 10 years?

  • Please hit me up."

  • And it worked, my DMs are completely destroyed,

  • but I have been chatting with a bunch of awesome people

  • and no one really knows what I'm talking about.

  • I am so worried this video's gonna go nowhere.

  • I took those replies to mean that this web design thing

  • really might just be isolated to Japan.

  • So I decided to verify

  • by checking out the most popular websites

  • in every country in the world.

  • So many of these websites are just Google

  • or manga reading websites.

  • Are we just all weebs who don't know things?

  • I categorized the websites based on their contents.

  • Okay, I know that this shouldn't surprise me,

  • but the internet is full of a lot of not great stuff.

  • Just looking at some of these categories,

  • we've got explicit, illegal, spam, suspected malware.

  • I'm just gonna whoop.

  • I then accessed each website using a web crawler and a VPN

  • to take screenshots of the local page.

  • So because of GDPR,

  • websites will ask you if you want cookies, which I respect,

  • except that popup blocks the entire freaking webpage.

  • So I need to figure out

  • how to say accept cookies or allow cookies

  • or, okay, cool, cookies in every language.

  • I thought computers were supposed to make things easy.

  • Just look at this.

  • Also, the way that they've implemented

  • these buttons are different.

  • So I don't just need to know the language,

  • I need to find the specific button element to click

  • and then code it in.

  • I think I might give up.

  • Okay, so I now have 2,671 screenshots

  • of websites across like 200 countries.

  • Ideally, I'd like to know how each website

  • compares to every other website,

  • but that would mean doing like

  • 3 million comparisons.

  • My brain is too soft and small to do that,

  • but luckily we have computers.

  • So I ended up using machine learning

  • to extract the most prominent features

  • of each website screenshot.

  • I then compared those extractions to one another

  • using a statistical method of dimensionality reduction

  • called t-distributed stochastic neighbor embeddings.

  • Please come back.

  • All you need to know is that this lets us see

  • how our AI organizes and groups our website screenshots.

  • The closer it puts screenshots together,

  • the more similar their designs,

  • and the further apart means more dissimilar.

  • That's all I'm doing.

  • So now let's run this.

  • Kind of anti-climactic.

  • So this is how the AI organized our websites.

  • So many pictures, so little resolution.

  • But if you look closely,

  • there are clumps that have started to form.

  • We've got Facebook, Google,

  • websites that would not let me in.

  • Twitter and Wikipedia.

  • But the thing is,

  • is that these websites are more exception than the rule.

  • They aren't representative of any nation's design style

  • because they are in basically every nation.

  • So I'm not gonna care about them.

  • Instead, what I do care about is this thing,

  • what I like to call the clump of interest.

  • If we look closely at this clump,

  • we can see that it's sorted along two axes.

  • Vertically, it's pretty obvious, it goes from dark to light,

  • but horizontally, you probably can't tell

  • because you can't see anything.

  • But on the left side,

  • we've got images with a lot of empty space,

  • a little bit of text, very simple images.

  • As we move to the middle,

  • we have larger images and two or three columns of content.

  • But finally, as we move furthest to the right,

  • we have a lot going on.

  • A whole bunch of columns, really tiny images,

  • often of content that I cannot show you.

  • I tried so hard to filter.

  • The internet just has so much...

  • I'm sorry.

  • Anyway, those are the visual patterns that guide this clump.

  • Now, where does Japan fit in?

  • Oh, yeah, I've just changed

  • all the screenshots to little circles

  • to make it easier to see things more clearly.

  • So, Japan, ta-dah.

  • It's the red dots.

  • We've got a little Google over there.

  • Right off the bat,

  • we can see that it kind of avoids this sector up here,

  • but we don't know if that is a common distribution.

  • Maybe a bunch of other countries avoid this corner.

  • We need to compare.

  • So let's see how it compares against the United States,

  • Canada, the UK, Ukraine, Indonesia, Mexico.

  • Are you seeing this?

  • All of the countries have wide varieties of web design

  • except for Japan.

  • Japan seems to be avoiding this sector

  • that is defined by dark, empty spaces.

  • In other words, Japan's websites

  • are brightly colored and dense, just like the theory claims.

  • Did I just prove something?

  • I'm genuinely surprised that we found something.

  • I just wish you could see it better.

  • Oh, wait, you can.

  • I made a website.

  • It has everything that has been

  • and will be in this video and more.

  • Is this my methodology of the project from start to finish?

  • Are those side by side comparisons over time?

  • A full resolution photo of the plot I projected?

  • And here's how I did it.

  • I went to Hostinger, who's sponsoring this video,

  • and I checked out their plans.

  • They have Minecraft servers?

  • Hostinger is a web hosting provider

  • and internet domain registrar.

  • Basically what that means is that they take

  • all of the technologies necessary