Feature Design TV Remote Control for Kids RM-KZ1

Colors and shapes that fit children's needs

Miyazaki: Our hardest work in determining the color scheme was deciding button colors. Each child discerns numbers, colors, and shapes differently depending on his or her age and level of development. Even among children of the same age, some kids excel at distinguishing colors, and others, shapes. With this in mind, we decided to offer multiple ways for children to identify the channel buttons.

That's why each button is a different color and shape. This way, parents can take a moment to show their child "the orange button" if the child hasn't mastered numbers, or "the star button" if colors are still unfamiliar. Even for the volume, the [+] and [-] buttons are shaped like a large and small leaf, which makes the concepts more tangible.

All of the buttons sit atop a white panel. Although there's a veritable rainbow of buttons in various shapes, the white background improves contrast and makes each button more recognizable. Here, we applied some insight gained from developing large-button remotes. Meanwhile, the body color is a lively green, which is more likely to be admired by boys and girls alike.

Letting product highlights take center stage

Kanada: All of the product qualities we wanted to present in the kids' remote are clear when you see the remote, thanks to its design. We also wanted to convey these things directly through the packaging design.

Toward this end, we focused on the size and color of the blister pack backing. Children's TV remotes in the North American market are sold not only in electronics retailers but also in toy stores. Sales floors are very colorful, so having a wide backing surface helps products stand out. For the backing color, we chose yellow. Other Sony products are shown against gray backgrounds, which doesn't really catch your eye. We decided that vibrant yellow was the best color to assert some character in large retail settings, convey children's vivaciousness, and complement the green body color.

For a sense of user-friendliness, we ventured to surround the blister pack with the backing, which is made of recycled paper. This thoughtful paper "buffer zone" brings a little peace-of-mind to parents who might otherwise think, on a subconscious level, that fully enclosing a product in a blister pack poses some risk that they or their children might cut their fingers when opening it. In all respects, a kids' remote control must be designed with children's safety in mind. Even through the packaging material, we want to reassure you and encourage you to pick up the remote.

The plastic window itself is bean-shaped, matching the product. Like the paper backing, the blister pack extends outward from the remote, forming a high arch. Imagine a fine French restaurant, where the chefs mound entrées on large plates in a tempting presentation. From the same perspective, we hoped that the ample backing, which presents the product in a more substantial form, would tempt people to pick up and hold the remote without even thinking about it. By grasping the blister pack from above, you'll also get a good sense of the size of the remote.

Desirable to children and parents alike, for what it represents

Wada: While designing children's products, if we have focused only on what's important to grown-ups, we have felt that something was missing. The key is to consider children's curiosity and principles of universal design, base the design work on solid research, and take a minimalist approach. If products are merely "cute," that's not enough. Our design must build on what makes products easier to use. The result is products that parents want their children to use-and products that children themselves want to use. The kids' remote may well be a niche product, but the values it represents certainly make us want to share it with families around the world.

This product is currently available only in North America and Europe (as of April 26, 2011).

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