Universal design

Development Process

Universal Design development

diagram: Development Process

Evaluation tool for Universal Design development, "UD-Checker"

The UD-Checker enables developers to self-check the level of Universal Design achieved during product design development by specifying the development target, development tips, and areas for improvement.

  • photo: Evaluation sheet for Universal Design achievement level

    Evaluation sheet for Universal Design achievement level

  • photo: Results sheet

    Results sheet

  • photo: Maintenance of power-distribution equipment

    Maintenance of power-distribution equipment

User tests (usability testing)

A variety of people, including aged persons and inexperienced users are invited to use commercial and prototype products. Usability issues are assessed by observing their spontaneous behavior while using the products.

  • photo: Usability of IH cooking heater (aged persons)

    Usability of IH cooking heater
    (aged persons)

  • photo: Group interview (aged persons)

    Group interview (aged persons)

  • photo: Product check by persons with low vision

    Product check by
    persons with low vision

Basic criteria for Universal Design

Basic criteria which are established based on research into the inconvenience and problems experienced by users are the fundamental component of the UD-Checker.

What issues exist? Basic criteria UD-Checker (Extract)

Clarification of goals

First, check prerequisites

  • What is the product used for?
  • Who will use it?
  • What environment is the product used in?

Comprehension difficulties

  • Cannot understand unfamiliar terms or descriptions
  • Cannot remember much information at a time
  • It takes time to understand, accept, and remember information

Simple and easy to understand and use

Simple and easy for anyone to understand and operate

  • How to use it is clear just by looking at it
  • Easy common terms and expressions
  • Appropriate number and position of operation buttons
  • Easy, simple operation
  • Clear-cut feedback displayed to show operational status
  • Product able to be operated at the user's pace

Vision and hearing difficulties

  • Cannot see or have difficulties in seeing information
  • Have difficulty seeing small or low contrast displays
  • Have difficulty focusing on nearby objects
  • Height of vision for aged persons and wheelchair users is low
  • Cannot hear
  • Have difficulty hearing high or soft tones
  • Have difficulty sensing danger in an emergency, such as a fire

Clear displays and easily recognized expressions

Displays and expressions should be universally recognizable by people looking at, hearing, or touching products

  • Several options for expression of information should be available
  • Functional areas should be arranged to be easily identifiable
  • Arrange characters and figures to be easily readable (size and contrast)
  • Adequate color scheme and number of colors.
    Check whether instructions rely on colors alone
  • Appropriate information displayed
  • Announcements and voice guidance easy to hear and follow

Usage/mobility difficulties

  • Limited strength or limited grip
  • Cannot undertake detailed work or immediate action
  • Must use both hands
  • Reach limited, cannot reach high or low
  • Have difficulty doing continuous work in bent posture for long periods
  • Limited balance or posture

Aim to create relaxed posture and reduced physical load

Product use should not involve physical discomfort

  • Not too much strength needed to control the product
  • Care for user in transport and installation
  • Care for users when holding the product or maintaining their position using the product
  • Minimum action to control the product.
    No immediate action necessary
  • User can use the product with one hand, either left or right
  • Product should be easy to use, regardless of the user's size
  • The product should not force the user to maintain a certain posture under a load or the same posture for long periods
  • Consider users in wheelchairs so they can use the product easily

Limited safety and convenience

  • Cannot cope with incorrect operation
  • Tend to forget to turn off
  • Preparation, finishing, or maintenance is difficult

Pursuit of safety and convenience

The pursuit of safety and convenience is a major premise in development

  • Pay attention to the prevention of incorrect operation
  • Arrange the product for easy reset during use or retry
  • Pay attention to the prevention of hazards
  • Aim for easy start, stop, and storage

Consideration of user feelings

Do not forget user feelings, such as happiness and joy, when obtaining and using products

  • Is the product pleasing and appealing?
  • Is product purchase and use easy?
  • Is the product price realistic or reasonable?
  • Is the product designed for long use?
  • Does the product reduce the user's inconvenience or effort?