Feature Design TV Remote Control for Kids RM-KZ1
[ 2011.6.16 up ]

Pressing children's buttons

This cute "kids' remote control" was inspired by requests for a TV remote just for children. Behind the remote is expertise from years of Remote Commander development-and close attention to children's behavior. How do you push the boundaries of TV remotes? Sony designers seem to have waved a magic wand.

Jo Wada
Jo Wada
Sony Corporation
Creative Center
Chief Art Director
Takeshi Miyazaki
Takeshi Miyazaki
Sony Corporation
Creative Center
Designer
Saki Kanada
Saki Kanada
Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications
Designer

Solutions that build on past advances

Wada: What began as a request from a U.S. Sony affiliate for a TV remote that parents could feel comfortable giving their children ultimately led to this product. Parents can program the remote to access up to seven family-friendly channels. Besides blocking access to other, unwanted channels, the remote prevents little mistakes by children, such as erasing recorded programs. It's also compatible with TVs of other manufacturers, of course, and it works with set-top boxes.

Although remotes of this kind might be called a niche category in the electronics market, Sony doesn't compromise in development. We've always sought remotes that satisfy particular needs that we take the time to consider carefully. The RM-PSZ30TV, with a speaker built into the transmitter, is one example. You can hear what's on TV from a unit right next to you, which has made it popular with hearing-impaired users who don't want to bother others by turning up the TV volume, and with housewives who watch TV from the kitchen. Those who appreciate interior design can choose the RM-PLZ510D, a remote you leave upside-down when it's not in use. With the controls hidden underneath, the sleek back cover complements most rooms. For people who have a hard time seeing buttons or labels on remotes, we offer the RM-PZ3D, a large-button remote in high-contrast colors. The controls are much easier to recognize.

We've designed quite a few remotes, but this was our first one just for kids. That's why we began by asking ourselves what details would strike a chord with children and parents. We knew we'd find some answers by taking our regular approach, conducting original research and applying a little creative thinking. Our first step would be to study children's physical and psychological needs carefully, which would pave the way for a practical solution true to Sony ideals.

  • RM-PSZ30TV
  • RM-PLZ510D
  • RM-PZ3D

Conveying meaning in three ways

Miyazaki: We began by broadly classifying our topics for exploration into three categories: size, shape, and color. Sized to fit comfortably in a child's small hand. Ergonomically shaped, with easy-to-press buttons. And with carefully considered button colors and shapes, because children's color perception varies depending on their stage of development.

First, to determine a size that felt right, we needed to know how large most children's hands are. The requesters at our U.S. Sony affiliate had an age range of 2-7 in mind. Although a two-year-old's hands are much smaller than a seven-year-old's, the children most likely to be given their own TV remote control are probably about four or older. A remote large enough to fit comfortably in a four-year-old's hand will also be easy for older children to use. Knowing this, we sifted through a lot of research to find the average four-year-old hand size.

Sony remotes have always been a comfortable width and thickness. By scaling down the usual size, we could decide the ideal proportions for children. After calculating the base width, I applied the research findings to determine the perfect size.

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