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Hikaru Wako

I am a designer, manager and inventor.

I bring over 25 years of automotive industry experience creating efficient, enjoyable award-winning user focused solutions for UX, UI and HMI.

  • LinkedIn


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UX Research & Design

UX Research & Design

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Product Design

Product Design


Professional Experience

Mar 2022 - Mar 2023

American Honda Motor Company, Inc., Torrance, CA

Senior UX/UI Designer (Contractor)

  • Helped improve the efficiency and consistency of the internal UX/UI design development process by investigating the use of modern tools and design systems.

  • Participated in workshops to create the future UX/UI for BEV and proposed some new and unique solutions.

  • Supported mass production UI development.

Jan 1995 - Aug 2021

Apr 2008 - Aug 2021

Alpine Electronics (Research) of America, Inc., Torrance, CA

Manager - User Experience

Established User Experience Group (UXG) and introduced the value and importance of User Experience.

  • Developed and improved Alpine's UX design process to make the experience of Alpine products sustainable and up to date.

  • Oversaw budget, resource allocation and projects/activities of UXG.

  • Managed 8 UXG members to conduct quantitative and qualitative user research, heuristic evaluation, and usability test as well as support various OEM’s research theme projects such as Acura Precision Cockpit Concept at 2016 LA Auto Show.

  • Acted as a liaison between cross-functional teams in Japan, US, EU and UXG for UX/UI development, proactively identifying and addressing significant design related issues.

  • Developed various cockpit HMI concepts to meet NHTSA distraction guideline such as STRG Touchpad HMI, Micro Gesture HMI, Grid-based HMI, Server HMI and Eyes-free Touch + VUI.

  • Supported sales activities to OEM customers by proposing new UX solutions based on user needs.

  • Created Alpine’s Worldwide GUI Style Guideline with HQ design group to maintain quality and consistency of the GUI design of Alpine products and increased development efficiency.

  • Mentored young UX/UI designers and UX design engineers.

Apr 2005 - Mar 2008

Manager/Chief Designer - Requirement & Design

Established Requirement & Design Group (RDG) and supported requirement engineering, wireframes, GUI, VUI and HMI for mass production development of Audio/Visual/Navigation (AVN) system.

  • Managed 10 RDG members and maintained the requirements and design in one place and contributed to making Alpine’s navigation business profitable for the first time.

  • Led RDG to create wireframes, GUI, VUI and HMI of AVN systems such as Alpine aftermarket, Honda/Acura, Chrysler and Cadillac.

  • Contributed to the creation of the Alpine’s Blackbird portable navigation device.

Apr 2001 - Mar 2005

Senior Designer

  • Created wireframes and GUI of Chrysler navigation system such as Pacifica and Jeep.

  • Acted as a liaison between Mercedes-Benz AG and Alpine development team for UI development of Modular Control System II (MCS2).

Apr 1998 - Mar 2001


  • Created wireframes and GUI of TransGuide for Intelligent Transportation System (ITS).

  • Produced UI skins for Jaguar (XJ and XK series) and Mercedes-Benz (ML Class) navigation system.

  • Identified requirements, resolved issues, and proposed HMI design solutions through collaboration between OEM customers and Alpine development team for software specification of their Audio/Navigation systems.

Jan 1995 - Mar 1998

Associate Designer

  • Created features, wireframes, GUI and HMI of the first Alpine aftermarket navigation system in US market.

  • Contributed to design GUI of the first Honda/Acura navigation system in US market.



Wentworth Institute of Technology
Boston, MA
Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design Technology

Awards / Achievements

CES Innovation Award
J.D. Power No. 1 with Honda/Acura Navigation System
ITS America Achievement Award
Two-time Alpine of America, Inc. Patent of the Year Award

Thanks for submitting!


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