Surround sound wireless headphones that unify a product range
Used primarily for home cinema and gaming, the WH-L600 are a pretty specific kind of wireless headphone. With built in Dolby cinematic surround and sound modes for enhancing movies, sport and gaming, they are designed for users who want highly immersive home entertainment (or also parents who want to watch TV without waking their kids). The headphones have a wireless range of 30m and a 17 hour battery life, and they sit on a charging stand that also acts as a transmitter and interface. After defining the overall design direction for the product, we split the design work and I worked on the transmitter.
This product was to sit between two other home wireless headphones, a high-end model and an entry-level model. These two headphones were designed many years apart and had very different design languages, so we used this new mid-range model as a chance to unify the product range and build consistency.
The headphones are a product for home, so we wanted them to be comfortable in a living room but still feel like a high-end piece of audio technology. Whilst charging they will also sit next to a TV (preferably a Sony TV), so they also needed to be consistent with the design of Sony TV's and accessories.
For what appears to be a relatively simple product, there are a surprising number of options and settings: 4 sound modes, 3 input modes, 3 Dolby settings, as well as options for ‘Compression’, ‘Matrix’ and ‘HDMI Control’. We were not able to use a screen for this product, which meant I needed to design a physical interface that included all these features whilst still being easy to use, cost efficient and looking good. My solution involves separating interface areas by function and hierarchy, and using lighting, printing and some neat engineering to keep it as clean as possible.
This product was again developed in close collaboration with Sony engineers in Tokyo, and it also required tight collaboration between our team as we were designing separate parts of what would end up being the same product. The project required a fair bit of back and forward with the engineers, particularly in regard to simplifying the UX and also in realising the design for manufacturing and production.