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.

FY2019 Achievements

  • Conducted universal design education (e-learning) for all Toshiba Group employees.
  • Held extracurricular activities for students from Tsukuba University of Technology.
  • Destination Control System FLOORNAVI won Gold Award in the 2020 iF DESIGN AWARD.
  • Conducted Instant Senior® experiential training program simulating the elderly.

Future Challenges and Approaches

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.

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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, and conduct development that incorporates our philosophy on UD and distribute Toshiba's UD-related information both inside and outside the organization.

  • 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.

  • Image of universal design policy

    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 Advisor System

Toshiba Group has a UD Advisor System in place, in which employees with disabilities and non-Japanese employees are invited to participate. Some 95 people had registered for the system as of March 2020. 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.

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Development of Universal Design Products and Services

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.

Toshiba’s Universal Design

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Promotion of Universal Design

Education on Universal Design

An e-learning program on Universal Design has been given to all employees of Toshiba and its key Group companies in Japan, including temporary workers, in FY2008, FY2015 and FY2019 to further deepen understanding of UD at the individual level in Toshiba Group. The education has been provided to newly hired employees every year since FY2008.

Communication with Outside Organizations

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.

Activity Example: Held Extracurricular Activities for Students from Tsukuba University of Technology

In November 2019, Toshiba provided extracurricular activities for five hearing-impaired 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. The activities included workshops that introduced examples of design and offered the opportunity to experience the design process itself. In addition, students and employees held a dialogue session and active Q&As 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 learning experience taking part in corporate design activities.

Extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities

Activity Example: Destination Control System FLOORNAVI Won Gold Award
in the 2020 iF DESIGN AWARD

Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation has developed a destination control system called FLOORNAVI that guides passengers wanting to move to the same floor, or one nearby, into the same elevator by allowing them to specify destination before riding the elevator. The system relieves passenger stress and cuts time wasted by significantly reducing moving time during peak times, such as when commuting to work, thereby providing a more comfortable moving experience for users. The operation unit for FLOORNAVI has been designed to make it easy to use for diverse people, including those in a wheelchair. The registration device, which serves as the point of contact between user and system, has a simple and easy interface that is easy to operate even for first-time users, and card reader that allows registration in an easy-to-use position. The exceptional universal design of FLOORNAVI was recognized with the Gold Award, the top distinction of the 2020 iF DESIGN AWARD, an international design award organized by iF International Forum Design GmbH.


In-House Awareness-Raising Activities

Toshiba provides education and distributes information for employees to promote universal design internally.

Activity Example: Conducted Instant Senior®
(experiential training program simulating the elderly)

Toshiba Design Center implemented the Instant Senior®* program for members including designers who joined the Company in FY2019. 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.

Conducted Instant Senior® (experiential training program simulating the elderly)

Conducted Instant Senior® (experiential training program simulating the elderly)

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