Spread of Universal Design
Toward Comfortable and Enjoyable Functions for Each Individual User
Toshiba Group's Approach to Universal Design
IDO Kenji / HORIGUCHI Maho
Within the context of declining birthrates and increasing longevity, there is growing interest in universal design (UD) in society at large, with progress being made in putting related technical standards and statutes in place.
The Toshiba Group is engaged in a diverse range of business activities, and deals with products in a variety of different fields. In order to facilitate the development of UD products with the same conceptual orientation in each of the Toshiba Group's business fields, a group-wide UD promotion framework was recently put in place. This involves the formulation of principles, guidelines, and other such standards relating to common UD activities across the Toshiba Group. The independent divisions and companies engaged in their various lines of business have developed programs to formulate more detailed UD criteria and take other related actions in compliance with the common group standards.
We are making continuous efforts to enhance the quality of UD and to create products that can be used more conveniently by more customers.
Universal Design Realizing User-Friendly Home Appliances
The value of home appliances, which are an indispensable part of everyday life, is determined by their user friendliness. Furthermore, with the progressive aging of society, universal design (UD) for home appliances has become increasingly important.
With these trends as a background, Toshiba is continuing its efforts to realize high-quality UD for home appliances through verification of the usability of every product by the designers themselves in order to focus attention on product development policies. As part of these efforts, we are conducting interviews and other studies with a wide range of users including the elderly and the disabled, using both existing products and proposed prototype models.
Visibility and Legibility in LCD TVs
The functionality and display resolution of liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs have recently become increasingly sophisticated, with enhanced functions of a data terminal including data broadcasting, electronic program guide (EPG), and other text information in addition to conventional TV functions. Moreover, high visibility and legibility are required with the aging of society and the growing complexity of operation of TV sets.
Toshiba has standardized guidelines for text size, color, and contrast settings to achieve high visibility and legibility of LCD TVs, based on the characteristics of aging people's vision. We have applied these guidelines to a graphical user interface (GUI) in the development of the REGZATM series LCD TVs, to realize a more easily viewable display for all users.
Color Universal Design for LCD Elevator Indicators
TSUBOI Hideki / ONAI Tomoko / BUNYA Masahiro / MORI Tetsuya
Toshiba has developed a liquid crystal display (LCD) indicator for both call panels in elevator halls and car operating panels of standard elevators in the Japanese market. The LCD indicator makes it possible to offer various types of elevator information, including normal operation displays using animation and two languages as well as control operation displays at the time of an earthquake or other emergency.
Furthermore, we have been focusing on the development of color universal design (color UD) of display screens for people with color weakness. A Toshiba display of this type was certified as a color UD-compliant product by the Color Universal Design Organization (CUDO), an incorporated nonprofit organization, in February 2009. This is the first such certification in the elevator industry.
Universal Design of Multifunctional Peripherals Based on User Survey
HOSHINO Naoki / KOMAMIYA Yuko / WASHIZUKA Keiichi
Interest in and demand for universal design (UD) have been increasing in recent years. In promoting UD, there is an ongoing need for the development of user-friendly digital multifunctional peripherals (MFPs) for people with disabilities as well as those without disabilities, to support the participation of people with disabilities in society.
Toshiba TEC Corporation has conducted a survey of MFP users including those with disabilities, asking who uses the MFP, how it is used, and what types of problems are encountered. To overcome the problems identified in the survey, we studied possible solutions and confirmed their viability by means of verification experiments. As a result of these efforts, we developed a series of MFPs, the e-STUDIO 5520C/6520C/6530C models, applying high-quality UD.
Universal Design for Comfort and Usability in Mammography Equipment
IDO Kenji / BABA Noriaki / MIYAGI Rina
With lower rates of breast cancer screening in Japan in comparison with Europe and North America, rising breast cancer morbidity as well as increasing mortality have recently been recognized as a social problem in Japan. X-ray mammography screening is the most effective examination for early detection of breast cancer. However, it is sometimes associated with pain.
As a manufacturer of mammography equipment, Toshiba has been implementing a project to increase the prevalence of such examinations by creating equipment that enables more women to receive screening with a greater sense of comfort and security. Based on the conceptual approach of universal design, the members of the project team, consisting of people with a wide range of perspectives, have conducted repeated studies, surveys, prototype fabrication, and verification. As a result, an optimal mammography design has been achieved that incorporates measures to reduce pain experienced by patients during screening and improve usability for operators.
Universal Design for Monitoring and Control Systems
NISHIZAWA Yosoko / SUGINO Toshiharu
The concept of universal design (UD) is applied to home appliances, audiovisual equipment, and similar products with the aim of enabling large numbers of people to easily use such products. However, UD has not been considered to be so relevant to social infrastructure systems such as monitoring and control systems. As a result, the aspects of such systems to which UD is applicable have been limited to usability by people with color weakness and so on.
Toshiba is making efforts to expand the application of UD to monitoring and control systems. Applying the concept of UD makes it possible to meet requirements for diversification, with the age range of users becoming wider in the aging society and users in various positions possessing different skills handling multidimensional information.
Approach to Development of Workplace Support Equipment for Hearing-Impaired Individuals
HIROOKA Nao / HATAKEYAMA Hatsumi / KATO Nobuko
Utilization of people with disabilities has become an important issue for companies, which are required to have diverse human resources. Almost half of the employees with disabilities in Toshiba are hearing-impaired. With the aim of developing communication support equipment for hearing-impaired employees to improve their working conditions, we implemented research on communication support equipment in FY2008 in cooperation with Tsukuba University of Technology.
We conducted a questionnaire survey in conjunction with interviews asking hearing-impaired employees about their circumstances and requirements with regard to support equipment. The responses showed that speech-to-text conversion (speech recognition) was the area of greatest need, particularly high-level speech recognition equipment in the working environment. In addition to the development of support equipment, consideration of the communication and information-sharing requirements associated with hearing impairments is also relevant to universal design for communication.