Feature Design HDR-CX7
Feature Design High Definition "Handycam" HDR-CX7

Slanted 10° to fit perfectly in your hand

Feature Design HDR-CX7Hiroshi Yasutomi

Yasutomi: How does it offer a secure grip? In particular, there's a subtle slant in the lens section. In the HDR-HC3, this slant is at an angle of 7°. We wanted the new model to be just as easy to hold. The HDR-CX7 is slanted by approximately 10°. But considering this model has no viewfinder, users won't necessarily feel the need to hold it at eye level. Many people will probably hold it lower than that. And with a format that feels like you're holding the lens itself, the lower you hold the camcorder, the harder it is to hold horizontally. The slanted grip makes it a bit easier to hold, and here, the larger angle helps. We couldn't overlook this detail just because we made the unit small. In fact, precisely because it's small, we were careful.

The main controls were arranged with this slant in mind, but on a unit this compact, it's hard to mount the buttons and switches. We're striving for a precision on the level of 5 mm. As we exchanged 3D CAD data with the engineers and studied the circuit board and the finish around buttons, the body we imagined took shape. We worked hard not to sacrifice ease of use.

Relentless pursuit of refined usability

Okumura: How comfortable can we make it in your hand? How can we make it easier to use? We apply the same kind of innovation in interface design. Handycams are loaded with features. Starting with last year's first AVCHD-compatible model in particular, we have organized a great many features to make them easy to understand. We grouped features by frequency of use and relative importance to create a home screen, so that you can access the features you need without any confusion. Only after this planning do we start putting it in the form of a graphical user interface.

But what exactly do we do? Our study begins at the stage of holding the camcorder. You hold the HDR-CX7 in your right hand, so you press the touch screen with your left. We have determined the size of an area you can press with a finger, more or less, so we divide the screen into a grid of vertical and horizontal sections of that size. Here, the easiest area of the touch screen to press with your left thumb is the left column, followed by the bottom row. Buttons in the upper right corner are farther from your fingers, which makes them harder to press. So we arranged buttons that are more important, or more often used, in the best position in this layout.

We were especially careful to make common features easily accessible and to make it easy for users to notice features we think they'll enjoy. If you have to focus very hard to operate a device, it's a sign of an unacceptable interface, in my opinion. The ideal interface is "transparent," if you'll forgive my abstract expression. So even if a device uses impressive technology or offers unique features, we avoid an extremely flashy interface. We took a sensible, casual approach to this interface design, but occasionally there are subtle invitations to notice and try new features. Go to an electronics store and see for yourself by trying a display model.

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