I recently wrote two research documents about the usability of Japan's popular social network sites.

(1) Japan's Social Networks Need Usability Improvements

(2) Japan's Mobile Social Networks Need Some Usability Tweaks

For these reports, I imitated a novice user and attempted to register as a member of the leading social networks and mobile social networks — And I used a subset of Forrester's Web Site Review methodology to identify the flaws in the registration process that could be improved.

It may be surprising for non-Japanese readers to learn that I found it easier to sign up as a member of a "mobile only" social network than to sign up for some PC-based networks.The membership application procedure on the mobile sites were simple and quicker to complete than the equivalent process on PC based social networking sites.

Today I read that Mobage Town, the leading "Mobile only" social networking community in Japan has launched an interface for people who want to use their PCs to access the site. However, they appear to be using a "Mobile site" design for the PC site… squeezing all of the content in to a very narrow window and making for an unsatisfactory experience for PC-based users. See the following article from Asiajin for more details:

Mobage Town forays into PC web from mobile