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Usability and Accessibility

Products today are increasingly complex and multifunctional. "Usability and Accessibility" is an essential aspect of product quality, and Sony is taking steps aimed at making it easier for people to use our products and services.

Enhancing Usability

(Updated on August 12, 2013)

  • User test (usability assessment)
    User test (usability assessment)

Advancements in technological innovation are leading to the development of products that are increasingly sophisticated and multifunctional-a trend that is spurring demand for enhanced usability. Sony views usability as an essential aspect of product quality and is continuously taking steps to make it easier for more people to use its products and services.

Sony provides products for a broad range of customers not only in Japan, Europe and North America, but also in other parts of the world, including emerging economies. As such, Sony recognizes that it must accommodate definitions of "usability" that vary in different cultures and lifestyles. As part of the product development process, Sony conducts ongoing user tests focusing on ease of viewing and operation in a variety of markets, including India, China and Brazil, with the aim of further enhancing usability.

Examples of Sony products that feature enhanced usability:

  • Television remote controls

One Sony product developed with a particular emphasis on ease-of-use is a remote control that features an enlarged area for essential buttons. This remote control also employs radio technology, enabling it to function when pointed in any direction and even when it is randomly left on top of a desk or table. The X9200A, X9000, W900A, and W802A models of Sony's BRAVIA™ LCD televisions come with this easy-to-use, multifunctional remote control.

The HX850/HX750/HX65R/EX550/EX540 series of BRAVIA LCD televisions launched in 2012 have been designed to be user-friendly for many types of color vision from the perspective of color universal design. The size and color arrangement of remote control buttons and the color and brightness of LED indicators have been chosen after taking such usability factors into consideration. These remote controls have received certification from the Color Universal Design Organization (CUDO).

  • Rakuraku Start Menu
    Rakuraku Start Menu

  • Blu-ray Disc™ recorders

Sony Blu-ray Disc recorders feature the "Rakuraku (easy-to-use) Start Button," which makes operating the recorder easy-even for first-time users who don't know how. Pushing the button displays instructions on the screen (the "Rakuraku Start Menu"), making it easy to set the machine to record or replay recorded programming. The "Rakuraku (easy-to-use) Start Button" comes with the BDZ-EX3000, ET2000, ET1000, EW2000, EW1000, EW500, E500, and SKP75 models of Sony's Blu-ray Disc recorders.

  • The shape of the grip for "α77"
    The shape of the grip for "α77"

  • DSLR cameras

In planning the shape and size of the grip for "α™77" and "α65" series DSLR cameras, Sony surveyed users around the world, as well as collected and analyzed handprints from people of various ages, based on which it produced and evaluated a number of prototypes, ensuring the cameras are comfortable to hold and significantly enhancing ease of operation when shooting.

Facilitating Accessibility

(Updated on August 12, 2013)

Sony's commitment to usability also extends to special features designed to make our products accessible to a wide range of consumers, including the elderly and those working to overcome disabilities.
Examples of Sony products that feature enhanced accessibility:

  • Remote control with built-in cordless speaker (only in Japan)
  • Remote control with built-in cordless speaker, RM-PSZ35TV
    Remote control with built-in cordless speaker, RM-PSZ35TV

Easy-to-hear television sound at one's fingertips
The RM-PSZ35TV remote control realizes excellent usability for a wide range of users, from children to the elderly. To ensure the voices of people in news, drama and other programming are clearly audible, the RM-PSZ35TV remote control features a built-in cordless speaker with specially designed amplifier frequency characteristics and a distinctively shaped bass reflex port on the cabinet underside. Thanks to these innovations, users can hear voices and conversations from the speaker and do not have to raise the television volume excessively.

Unit design that focuses on usability and visibility
Sony incorporates usability into the design of this remote control by including such features as a combined speaker power switch and volume control that is easy to grasp and has an appropriate level of turning resistance, an indicator lamp and turning "click" so that users can easily tell whether it is switched on or off and buttons with easy-to-read large characters and function-specific colors.

Also, the base has rubber feet to prevent it from slipping or moving around the table or other surface when the buttons are pushed.
In addition, Sony's entire lineup of BRAVIA LCD televisions for the European market features an audio description function that provides access to a narrative soundtrack for visually impaired users, and digital video teletext for hearing-impaired users, both as standard features. Another example is Reader™ e-Reader device which allows users to easily store and carry over a thousand books as well as adjust text size according to their needs. Certain Sony televisions come with headphones that do not override and can be adjusted independently from the speakers, enabling hearing-impaired individuals to enjoy watching television together with non-hearing-impaired family and friends without fear of disturbing others.

Looking ahead, ease-of-use and accessibility will remain core elements of Sony's product development efforts.

Providing Information to a Diverse Range of Customers

(Updated on August 12, 2013)

Sony Corporation provides CD versions of catalogs and audio user manuals to visually impaired users and customers who are unable to use regular catalogs and manuals for other reasons.

Sony issues CD versions of catalogs twice a year with the same content that is released on Sony's website. These catalogs, which are produced by Sony Marketing (Japan) Inc. in cooperation with the Japan Braille Library, provide voice guides on the main functions of new products.

For some product models, audio guides that serve as audio user manuals and text data are available on Sony's product information website.

Age-based Rating Systems for Game Software

(Updated on August 12, 2013)

  • ©2009 So-net Corporation
    ©2009 So-net Corporation

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) aims to make games as popular as music, movies and broadcasting and has been developing our PlayStation® business for users in all age groups. Game industry organizations have responded to the proliferation of new game genres by introducing rating systems for customers in Japan, the United States and Europe (CERO, ESRB and PEGI, respectively), based on games' target age groups. The U.S. system has operated for more than 10 years and won top marks from the public not only for indicating age categories but also for being the first to add descriptions that detail the contents of a game. PEGI is endorsed by the European Commission as a paradigm of self-regulation in the entertainment industry. In Japan, measures are being promoted to make the system more effective, including, with the cooperation of retailers, the voluntary refusal to sell software rated by CERO for ages 18 and above to underage customers.

To regulate access by underage users, SCE has included a Parental Lock function in PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) and PlayStation®3. This function enables customers to adjust access levels and limit children's access only to appropriate software across the PlayStation® platform. With the average age of Web users declining, concern is growing about sites on the Internet containing content that is inappropriate for or harmful to children. So-net Corporation, which provides an Internet-related service in Japan, has introduced "Site Select," a filtering system that blocks access to such sites, as well as to sites targeted by phishing scams, thereby aiming to create an environment in which the whole family can enjoy Internet use worry free.

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