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Universal Design

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.

Medium- to Long-term Vision

By providing products and services that can satisfy diverse users, Toshiba will contribute to making more comfortable lifestyles and a safer society.

FY 2015 Achievements

  • Started offering the RECAIUS™ cloud service, which can support people in a variety of activities
  • Conducted e-learning programs on universal design for all employees of the Toshiba Group
  • Issued Universal Design Guidelines (office version)
  • Presented an exhibit at Shibuya 2020 – Super Welfare Expo, and presented Toshiba's initiatives there

Future Challenges and Approaches

Toshiba Group will further 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.

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Policy Related to Universal Design

To promote universal design throughout Toshiba Group, we have established our UD Principle, Vision and Guidelines.

  • Toshiba Group Universal Design Principle

    Toshiba Group creates valuable products for providing peace of mind and delight to each individual user.
    Toshiba Group contributes to achieving a society where everyone can live comfortably and enjoy peace of mind regardless of age, gender and abilities.

  • Toshiba Group Universal Design Vision

    Making the unusable usable, making the difficult easy.
    Toshiba's Universal Design makes products more user-friendly and safer.
    Our aim is to design attractive products that even more consumers will want to use, through innovation and constantly improving the ease of use and convenience of our products.

  • UDToshiba Group Universal Design Guidelines

    Toshiba Group Universal Design Guidelines

    • Design that conveys the product's ease of use
    • Simple and intuitive use
    • Minimize physical effort
    • Provide the same effectiveness for all users, regardless of the user or the user's environment or circumstances
    • Pursue safety and reduce users’ psychological anxieties

    (The Guidelines consists of the above five main principles and 15 sub-principles.)

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Universal Design Promotion Structure

Toshiba Group incorporates UD principles into the development process through network of representatives from each business unit, and disseminates information about Toshiba’s UD both inside and outside the Group.

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Universal Design Advisor System

Toshiba Group has a UD Advisor System in place, in which employees with disabilities and non-Japanese employees are invited to participate. Thanks to this system, registered employees can contribute to the development and evaluation of UD products, stepping beyond their own department.

With the e-STUDIO5005AC/e-STUDIO5008A series of Digital Multifunction Peripherals(MFP), visually impaired UD advisors evaluated the main control panel. Based on their opinions, we aimed to create a high-contrast display that was easy to see and understand. Moreover, the "Simple Copy" and "Simple Scan" which only display frequently used functions, have a simple layout with large main buttons, in order to achieve a universal design that is easy to use, regardless of ability or disability.


Easy Copy High ContrastSimple Copy
High Contrast Display

Evaluation by Universal Design Advisor Evaluation by Universal Design Advisor

e-STUDIO5005AC series

e-STUDIO5008A series

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Development of Universal Design Products and Services

Toshiba develops products in areas as wide-ranging as consumer electronics, home appliances, information equipment, and public facilities. In doing so, we adopt a human-centered design process that emphasizes users' perspective, and incorporate as many customer needs as possible. For information about our initiatives and our products, please visit the Toshiba’s Universal Design website.

Toshiba's Universal Design

Activity Example: Commencement of RECAIUS™ cloud service to support people in various activities

Vocalization by Daisy Rings™Vocalization by Daisy Rings™

In July 2015, Toshiba began offering RECAIUS™, a cloud service that can detect words and people contained in sounds and images, interpret their intentions and the situation, and communicate the result comprehensively to users. Part of the service, the text-to-speech editor DaisyRings™, is a cloud service that can easily create vocalized* content for those who find it difficult to read text due to visual impairments or dyslexia. It has possible uses in libraries, schools and administrative organizations, and even by ordinary companies for vocalizing documents such as product manuals.

The simultaneous interpretation service, another part of RECAIUS™, interprets even long sentences as sequences, breaking them up into segments of appropriate length, thus allowing smooth conversations between people who speak different languages.

*Vocalize: electronically convert text to speech

RECAIUS™ (Japanese)

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Promotion of Universal Design

E-learning for all employees

In order to further deepen each and every Toshiba Group employee's understanding of UD, we conducted e-learning programs on UD for all Toshiba Group employees. The e-learning training was first held for the whole company in FY2008, and has since targeted all new employees. In FY2015, we renewed our teaching materials, and administered the training again for all Toshiba Group employees.

Establishment of universal design guidelines for Toshiba offices

The Toshiba Group issued UD Guidelines (office version) in FY2015, in order to prepare a workplace environment that was comfortable for all the diverse employees who worked for us. These are guidelines to be referred to when arranging a new workplace or refurbishing an existing one. The guidelines not only deal with facility arrangement, but also explain what kind of people are included in the diverse workforce at Toshiba, as well as their general characteristics, so that we can build workplaces based around its people.

Transmitting information to external company

Toshiba's UD efforts have created a great impact on the quality of many people’s lives. Toshiba recognizes that such efforts should be communicated to and shared with as many people as possible, and participates in the International Association for Universal Design, Association for Electric Home Appliances, etc. to create social awareness of universal design, in FY2015.

International Association for Universal Design

Association for Electric Home Appliances (Japanese)

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Activity Example: Proposal of new energy society at welfare symposium

Presentation by Toshiba’s designerPresentation by Toshiba’s designer

At the Shibuya 2020 – Super Welfare Expo in November 2015, we exhibited H2One™, our hydrogen-based autonomous energy supply system.
At the symposium, a Toshiba designer gave a presentation about designing energy and cities for the future. We proposed our vision of a new safe and comfortable society that uses alternative energy sources, including our concept for using H2One™ to build cities where electric wheelchairs can travel without worrying about power supply.

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