Responsibility to customers

Providing Easy-to-Use Products

Basic Policy

The Mitsubishi Electric Group engages in universal design under the principle of "creating user-friendly products and comfortable living environments that benefit as many people as possible." To achieve user-friendliness and comfortable living in the true sense of the words, we are committed to providing products and living environments that offer a high level of satisfaction to as many people as possible.

Mitsubishi Electric Group’s Efforts in Universal Design

We have applied the concept of universal design (UD) to home appliances such as air conditioners and televisions, as well as to public equipment such as elevators, through considering the needs of all users. This approach is continuing to evolve.

  • Uni & Eco: The Uni & Eco business strategy was developed for home appliances in fiscal 2005 as a philosophy that combines "Uni," or universal design, (the aim of which is to achieve accessibility for all users), with "Eco," meaning ecological soundness that is perceivable, achievable, and communicable.
  • RakuRaku Assist: By raising the target demographic to people in their 70s starting in fiscal 2011, we developed the RakuRaku Assist business strategy. The aim is to enable more people to freely and easily take advantage of the latest convenient features.
  • SMART QUALITY : We are also advancing the RakuRaku Assist strategy in our SMART QUALITY efforts. This started in fiscal 2013 as an initiative to improve the quality of future lives by connecting societies, livelihoods, products, and people through smart, connected, and waste-eliminating technologies.
diagram: Graphic User Interface

* Graphic User Interface

Universal Design Examples to Date

Application to home appliances

Mitsubishi Electric has been ahead of the game in applying the concepts of universal design (UD) to home appliances. For instance, we have applied the Universal Design Guidelines to the RakuRaku-IH Cooking Heater cooking equipment.

  • Using a simple control plate with few buttons, the design features button sizes and text displays that are both large.
  • We made the order of basic controls for IH cooking easier to understand by displaying numbers. Moreover, we clarified the heat-intensity display by adopting simple words like "strong" and "weak."
  • Another innovation was adding the benefit of voice-generated control assistance and alerts.
  • Human sensors that monitor the surroundings of the IH unit have also been integrated into the equipment. The unit emits spoken alerts if no one is around during cooking or to give warnings of overheating.

"RakuRaku-IH" Cooking Heater CS-G20AKS

Large characters & numerical indicators of steps for use
photo: Large character & numerical indication of steps for use

Large character & numerical indication of steps for use

<Features>

  • Characters are approximately 1.8* times the size of our conventional system.
    (Compared with Mitsubishi Electric's conventional model G38MS)
  • Can be operated simply by pressing buttons in order of numbers displayed.
Safety sensor & audio support
illustration: Safety sensor & audio support

Safety sensor & audio support

<Features>

  • Built-in sensor checks for people in vicinity.
  • Offers audio support for ease of operation.

Application to the industrial sector

Even in the industrial sector, where there is a high level of specialization and a relative lack of diversity in terms of operators who handle equipment, the labor environment is changing. Examples of this transformation include the aging of workers, and more foreign and inexperienced workers – changes that have increased the need for universal design. At Mitsubishi Electric, we are applying the concept of universal design (UD) in our industrial products, such as factory automation (FA) equipment and electric power devices, as well as to the installation and maintenance of equipment on factory floors.

We are also employing the Universal Design Guidelines for sequencers in FA equipment.

  • Easy-to-understand expressions, such as printed designs that are images of actual objects, make the displayed content more intuitive.
  • The unit employs a large UD font display and offers good contrast against the background color, considering people with impaired color vision.
  • By showing the text in both English and Japanese hierarchically for easy understanding, inexperienced workers can easily identify the cause of on-site malfunctions.
  • Operability has been improved by employing the cabinet design, to feature a larger, more spread-out surface for the enlarged control portion.
  • diagram: Print design illustrating the actual wiring

    Print design illustrating the actual wiring

  • diagram: Presentation with consideration for persons with impaired color vision

    Presentation with consideration for persons with impaired color vision

diagram: Easy to understand information display

Easy to understand information display

photo: The enlarged control portion has improved operability

The enlarged control portion has improved operability

UD-Checker, the universal design evaluation system

UD-Checker is Mitsubishi Electric’s proprietary tool that can be used by both industrial designers and engineers to evaluate for universal design (UD) qualities. This tool shows four quantitative measures of UD, namely recognition, identification, physical use, and safety/usability, indicating specific design aspects for development and improving the efficiency of product development. The UD-Checker is used on a wide variety of Mitsubishi Electric products from home appliances and public equipment to industrial equipment.

The UD-Checker’s four evaluation criteria

  1. Recognition: consideration for ease of understanding
  2. Identification: consideration for ease of reading and/or hearing
  3. Physical use: consideration for comfortable posture and minimum physical load
  4. Safety/usability: consideration for usability without danger or operating errors.
photo: The UD-Checker’s four evaluation criteria

The UD-Checker’s four evaluation criteria

photo: Results sheet is automatically output based on the entry into the check items

Results sheet is automatically output based on the entry into the check items

Universal Design Guidelines for widespread usability

The Universal Design Guidelines are a set of standards that apply to a wide range of product development, and were formulated based on the expertise gained through using the UD-Checker. To promote greater usability of our products by all users, including children, senior citizens, and people with physical disabilities, we created guidelines on changes that occur to human characteristics with age and that consider disabilities. The guidelines are structured in the same way as the UD-Checker, which incorporates the four perspectives of recognition, identification, physical use, and safety/usability.

  • document: Universal Design Guidelines for widespread usability_01
  • document: Universal Design Guidelines for widespread usability_02
  • document: Universal Design Guidelines for widespread usability_03

Creating easy-to-understand instruction manuals

Under a campaign to provide first-rate instruction manuals, Mitsubishi Electric Group is directing its efforts to creating easy-to-read and easy-to-understand instruction manuals to ensure the safe and comfortable use of our products. Forming the basis of this effort is Mitsubishi Electric's original "Guidelines for the creation of instruction manuals for home appliances—Instructions." To raise the quality level of instruction manuals, this handbook is distributed to all affiliates in Japan who handle home appliances.

Example instruction manual: Mitsubishi Electric Kirigamine FL Series room air conditioners

Our Quick Guide (Basic Operations) enlarges each button, allowing users to recognize at a glance which button they should push on their remote control. In addition to this, large font sizes and ample margins make the explanations extremely easy to understand.

document: Quick Guide (Basic Operations)

Quick Guide (Basic operations)

Award received

In fiscal 2020, following the International Association for Universal Design (IAUD)’s evaluations of Mitsubishi Electric’s developments based on experiments targeting various users, we won a total of four awards at the IAUD International Design Awards. The accolades included the Silver Award for the ELE FIRST-i plus smartphone service app for elevators as well as the Bronze Award for the Kirigamine MSZ-R Series and MSZ-BXV Series room air conditioners, the EW-45LD1M Series built-in dishwasher and dryer, and the CG Series refrigerator.

Mitsubishi Electric aims in fiscal 2021 to continue creating universal design products that take ingenious approaches and consider various perspectives across a broad range of fields.

  • photo: ELE FIRST-i plus smartphone service app for elevators

    ELE FIRST-i plus smartphone service app for elevators

  • photo: Kirigamine MSZ-R Series and MSZ-BXV Series room air conditioner

    Kirigamine MSZ-R Series and MSZ-BXV Series room air conditioner

  • photo: EW-45LD1M Series built-in dishwasher and dryer

    EW-45LD1M Series built-in dishwasher and dryer

  • photo: CG Series refrigerator

    CG Series refrigerator