I originally thought that the website’s style would differ depending on the country, as some like to have a different website to, say America from the version for United Kingdom. From experience this is often for Clothing/food websites, simply because the nationality may have a different type of audience to target in a certain way for advertisement. Here’s some examples;
KFC | http://www.kfc.co.uk | http://www.kfc.com
McDonalds | http://www.mcdonalds.co.uk | http://www.mcdonalds.com
Footlocker | http://www.footlocker.com | http://www.footlocker.eu
So you can see that depending on your location, you are given a different website. The website will generally change depending on the seasons through the year, but both regions’ websites differ dramatically here. The difference in target audiences is a large separation due to the cultures that they live in. America seems to rely a lot on using celebrities to advertise their products, aswell as relating products to the sports and heavily focusing on social networking. We are slowly catching up with them though.
They also differ with several car websites, such as Honda, Volkswagen, BMW and i’m sure many more. The interesting thing here is that some of them will try to copy eachother, but will have certain different style aspects such as the positioning/choice of images and background colour.
BMW is an interesting one; the style is almost identical, but the UK version has a larger navigation and text; maybe we find it harder to read on their site and they changed it for that reason? This same theory applies with Volkswagen’s website, it’s bizarre why they would change the font size for one version of their website depending on the region. They also include a completely different name for their website instead of it just being the domain’s country code. Stereotypes and general assumptions tend to have a big effect on the appearance of websites, as creating a website by them will in turn create a stronger reaction which will result in the advertising to be successful.
Porsche is one of the few major brand companies that I have come across which have an identical website regardless of your nationality. You are initially brought to a splash screen which gives you the option to pick your country, and then you are redirected to porsche’s website displayed in the nationality that you have chosen. If all websites were like this then there would be a lot less confusion over the web, but you can understand that other companies alternate the website’s visual style to advertise better for the chosen country.
Porsche | http://www.porsche.com
Ferrari also adopts this format, but I would assume that the reasoning is that they do not require different tactics to advertise to the public in different countries, as everyone knows their cars the same; luxurious, expansive, fast.
Ferrari | http://www.ferrari.com
To conclude; food and automobile websites are designed for quick browsing, therefore they will generally be displayed without a scroll bar so that you can view large images, and click to the next one. Scrolling generally seems to be for online stores; such as clothing, groceries and furniture. It seems odd however, when certain websites are almost identical besides font/navigation sizes. I can understand the overall colour choice differing and choice of images, but it feel as if they are being picky with which nation they make more of an effort for. This theory could also be evaded due to the fact that some companies have completely different domains for each nation, which could mean a different website designer created each one.