Fitness App Localization – Safe Run for Japan


When Choosing and app I wanted to some something fitness related that would have a unique benefit over food or workout tracking.  I was intrigued to find the Safe Run app that is designed for safety when running and allows for the user to turn on a location tracking ability and to send a distress signal to a predetermined contact in the event of an emergency.

This app is currently in the iTunes store for English speaking markets and is $1.99.

I then looked at the popularity of running in the countries that we could choose to localize for.  I saw that in Japan running is very popular and overall the country has had many Olympic Medalists in the marathon.

Then I looked at the cultural values of Japan as researched by Hofstede and the World Values Survey:


The app for the Japanese market should have a group feature built in that also lets you see if any of your friends are out running and be people to see where they are or connect up to run together.   Culturally, they will respond better to something that has a group focus.  However, as you can see from the World Values stats – safety is a concern and for practical maters and uncertainty avoidance – this app can provide peace of mind for if a user is out running alone.  Particularly for women.

Here is  screenshot of a Japanese App that has more collectivist features like sharing things you see on your run with your friends:


The visual design of the app would need to be adjusted so that the woman shown on the homescreen would be a Japanese woman dressed more commonly for the Japanese market.


I would also adjust the icons used on the homepage to be something more culturally neutral.  I don’t feel that the wrench and screwdriver translate to “security settings” for a world market.   Something calling up police forces or shields might resonate more.








6) Horton, “Graphics – Not quite universal language”