Toshiba Group is promoting universal design (UD), in order to contribute to the realization of a society where everyone can live at ease and in comfort, regardless of age, gender, and physical ability.
By providing products and services that can satisfy diverse users, Toshiba will contribute to making more comfortable lifestyles and a safer society.
Toshiba Group will further deepen each employee's understanding of the concept of universal design, and will create UD products and services that incorporate user feedback and ideas. We will also promote UD in the workplace.
To promote universal design throughout Toshiba Group, we have established our UD Principle, Vision and Guidelines, and conduct development that incorporates our philosophy on UD and distribute Toshiba's UD-related information both inside and outside the organization.
Toshiba Group has a UD Advisor System in place, in which employees with disabilities and non-Japanese employees are invited to participate. Some 80 people had registered for the system as of March 2019. Based on this system, employees registered as UD advisors can contribute to the development and evaluation of UD products and UD services, stepping beyond their own department.
Toshiba Group develops products and services that apply a human-centered design process that emphasizes users' perspective to a wide range of business fields and incorporate as many customer needs as possible.
For details on our initiatives, refer to the Universal Design section on the Toshiba website.
To spread and promote the use of universal design, Toshiba Group provides information on its own initiatives and the results of its activities and also actively collaborates with outside companies and organizations.
In December 2018, Toshiba Design Center held a networking event for nine students majoring in synthetic design from the National University Corporation Tsukuba University of Technology, an institution of higher learning for the hearing impaired and the visually impaired.
At the networking event, workshops were held that introduced the design process for products young designers were involved with and offered the opportunity to experience the design process itself. In addition, students and employees held a dialogue session and active Q&A session while using an automatic audio subtitle system for conferences and lectures as well as a communication board currently under development at Toshiba.
We were thanked at the end by the participating students and their supervising teachers, who said that it had been a valuable opportunity getting an insight into work as a designer.
Discussion at the networking event
On June 20 and 27, 2018, a total of 188 fourth grade elementary school children from Shibaura Elementary School in Tokyo visited the Hamamatsucho Building to study people working in the vicinity based on the idea of getting to know one's town as part of an integrated studies period on "Shibaura, a changing town where people come together." Two classes made the visit on June 20 and three classes on June 27. As part of a tour of various companies in the building, Toshiba Design Center introduced the workflow up until completion of product design using prototype mockups and videos. The children proactively asked questions about design and design work as well as the town of Shibaura. Through a tour of the entire building, the children voiced their surprise at the different jobs being done there and that the building was in the same area, even though it was far. Others commented that the tour helped them understand how various people cooperate and support each other, and that the people in each company treated them kindly.
Toshiba provides education and distributes information for employees to promote universal design internally.
Toshiba Design Center implemented the Instant Senior®* program for members including designers who joined the Company in FY2018. The program simulates conditions for the elderly by restricting movement and pointing out that items people use almost without thinking everyday are actually designed cleverly with ease-of-use in mind. This provided the opportunity to make various observations about the elderly from both physical and psychological perspectives, such as increasing difficulty feeling the presence of others nearby and a tendency to stop talking. This helps provide the standpoint required for design and will contribute to the development of UD products going forward.
* The training program allows participants to temporarily experience conditions resembling those of an elderly person by wearing nine types of equipment such as weights and supporters. Instant Senior® is a registered trademark of Japan Well Aging Association.