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Updated on August 21, 2015

Accessibility and Usability

"Accessibility and Usability" is an essential aspect of quality at Sony. Sony aims to create products and services that people can use with ease - independent of age and disabilities.

Enhancing Accessibility and Usability

Through technological advances, consumer electronic products are becoming increasingly multifunctional and their user interfaces are becoming more complex. Against this backdrop, Sony strives to provide products that can be comfortably operated and are as easy to use as possible. Sony's products and services are used not only in Japan, Europe, and North America, but also in many other parts of the world, including emerging countries. Usability must be suited to the cultures and lifestyles of each country of the world. Sony is continuously carrying user tests - not only in Japan, but also in countries in North America and Europe, and in countries like India and China - to assess usability factors such as viewability, understandability, and responsiveness. This user testing is done at the product development stage as well as after products have been sold.

To enhance product accessibility, Sony takes a leading role in the effort toward standardization in the industry.*1 Sony also makes sure that its products sold in the United States fully comply with the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. Furthermore, in order to make its websites available to as many people as possible, Sony is taking steps to ensure and improve the accessibility of information on the sites in accordance with the website accessibility guidelines it has established.

Sony was the project leader in an initiative of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to develop general requirements for the international standard for text-to-speech for television IEC 62731 (2013). Sony also leads the project to standardize accessibility and user interfaces in the IEC Technical Committee TC 100 (audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment) and serves as the technical secretary for technical area 16, which also includes active assisted living projects.

Recently Sony became the chairman of the newly established IEC System Committee Active Assisted Living (AAL). The objective is to foster standardization of active assisted living systems and services to enhance the quality of life and enable independent living through the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for all users. 

Age-based Rating Systems for Game Software

  • PlayStation®4
Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) aims to make games as popular as music, movies and broadcasting and has been developing the PlayStation® business for users in all age groups.

Console 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 20 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 Control function in PlayStation®4, PlayStation®3 and PlayStation®Vita. 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 the Internet, worry free.
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