Universal design


Striving for true usability to make life easier

Japan has become a full-fledged aging society in which the percentage of the population aged 65 or over exceeded the 20% mark in 2005. The proportion of the population considered seniors is projected to be one in four in 2013, and one in three in 2035. Changes in mental and physical abilities through aging and disabilities due to illness and accidents can be neither ignored nor avoided. Everyone, regardless of age or physical condition, wants to lead a comfortable, fulfilling life.

National and local governments are enforcing laws, ordinances, standards, and infrastructures for facilitating a comfortable living environment for everyone, regardless of age and physical ability.

From a manufacturer's viewpoint, we at Mitsubishi Electric want to provide products and living environments with an optimum usability that ensures a constantly high level of satisfaction for as many people as possible.

Universal Design objectives: Creating "Kyoyo-Hin" and "Kyoyo-Environments"

Mitsubishi Electric advocates Universal Design (UD) , striving to create Kyoyo-Hin (common-use products) that can be used by everyone, as well as to provide a Kyoyo-Environment (common-use environment) in which everyone, whatever their circumstances can participate and engage in activities together.

diagram: Universal Design objectives: Creating "Kyoyo-Hin" and "Kyoyo-Environments"

Applying Universal Design development techniques to various fields

As experienced workers grow older, and the number of less experienced workers increases due to changes in the employment system, Japan's work environment is undergoing rapid change.

Mitsubishi Electric has been extending its Universal Design expertise and tools accumulated through experience in the field of home appliances and public equipment to industrial fields such as factory automation equipment and software, as well as product installation and maintenance.

Our Universal Design development techniques have been applied, because by making products that even inexperienced workers find easy to use, we also help raise the efficiency of skilled workers, while reducing human error.


Universal Design initiatives

Universal Design education

Training program for Mitsubishi Electric Group employees

  • Basic course (e-learning)
  • Aged person simulation exercises and using wheelchairs
  • User evaluation workshop, etc.
  • photo: Using wheelchairs

    Using wheelchairs

  • photo: Aged person simulation exercise

    Aged person simulation exercise

  • photo: Aged person simulation exercise

    Aged person simulation exercise


Based on the basic user interface (UI) design and assessment results for products under development, "UI design guidelines" have been formulated for each field. Developers (e.g., engineers and designers) share the basics and tips on universal design, aiming to make products easier to use.

Information sharing

Information including the basics and standards of universal design has been made readily accessible via a portal site on the Intranet.