The design goals
for the new AV receiver
The process of connecting
the UX and UI with the final design
Connecting with the market
and the end-users
The future of animation
and UX design
to function and form with
the new AV series receivers
Pioneer's commitment to function and
form with the new AV series receivers
Q: If a richer musical experience is now possible inside your own car, could you also say that it might also be a place to provide completely new type of value for users?
We've always done what we could to provide the best in functionality with our products and now it feels like we've reached a kind of saturation point where adding more functionality is no longer the answer. Now it's about tuning the experience to the users' needs. I truly believe that the inside of the car as a place to provide new kinds of value has unlimited potential.
Q: How ideas are expressed in manga and animation are likely to change based on changes in products - their interfaces and environments. Just what will these changes look like? What hidden potential is waiting to be discovered?
For manga, there are some stories better read on paper and others better read digitally. Print media is already starting to become more of a luxury item with high-quality printing and binding, and deluxe hardbound volumes. We're still in a transitional period and there are plenty of factors which can't be predicted. The way things are done in Japan and in America are completely different, for example, and there's always the danger of being left behind. Digital music in Japan is really taking off, but now in the States, vinyl sales are skyrocketing. Personally, I like manga on paper because I think it has more permanence in that form.
Q: A complete shift to digital someday is not impossible.
You just can't tell how users' needs will change. The way we tell stories today might not have any meaning in that future. There are things that you understand by seeing and those you just have to experience. Turning the page of a comic is just one of those things, but of course that might just be a manga creator's wishful thinking. (Laughs)
It's the same with music. Until very recently, everyone was saying that listening to music on CDs is much better than with digital downloads, but now CDs are lagging way behind in sales. Many manga artists say that paper is better because it has a 'warmth' to it, but that's mostly what they want to believe. If it comes down to pure convenience, I'm sure most of us would switch to digital in a heartbeat. (Laughs) As digital becomes more and more convenient to work with, 'warmth' is going to lose. It's sounds harsh, I know. (Laughs) Whether or not we can adapt with the times will be an important factor in determining the survival of manga and animation.
Q: From a standpoint of musical quality and design Pioneer products are known to be elegant and stylish. How important is this image to Pioneer?
We take design and quality very seriously. In the design department, we share the theme of our designs with all designers in order to ensure that the unique qualities of Pioneer design are preserved. One of those themes is stylishness and we try to make sure our products embody that concept.
Q: Regarding the development of new AV series receivers, were there any facets that you focused on specifically or anything that you're particularly proud of?
The Home Screen is the gateway to all functionality so we constantly pushed ourselves to find a way to make the functions people wanted to use easy to access. When driving, it's likely that you'll push buttons or icons without even looking. It's because users remember exactly where these features are. If a user can recognize where these buttons and icons are, they don't have to look at the screen to press them. The Home Screen is one factor that really differentiates the new AV receivers. Every dot and every line of every graphic and every gradation is important. To give you a specific example, there are two types of functions for the new AV receivers, the functions of the device itself, and the functions usable on smartphones. Blue backgrounds are for the built-in functions and green ones are for smartphone functions and you can see the difference in a glance. The graphic interface is one with the functionality, resulting in a good-looking design that is also easy to use. It’s something that we constantly worked on to find that balance.
A good design has to make an impression from the first glance, but should also be timeless. The new AV series receivers are not only nice to look at, but the way the whole screen is used along with the use of buttons along the bottom is inspired.
Our team held many discussions over how to make the best possible product for use in our customer's cars. Of the many things we came up with, we kept our focus on the facets that we all agreed were of absolute importance. We constantly upgraded and updated until we were able to make a high-quality piece of equipment that we're all very proud of. The specs are comparable to top-end car stereo systems and, just as important, it is customizable to reflect users’ tastes and personalities. Anyone can discover their own unique way to enjoy videos and music with new AV receivers.