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Universal Design

FSTJ 2005-4 Cover Image

2005-4 (Vol.41, No.1)

This special issue looks at the latest trends in universal design in the US, Europe, and Japan. It then introduces the background of cross-sectional promotions and specific approaches in Fujitsu.

2005-4 (Vol.41, No.1) Contents

1. Preface (26 KB)
A special article covering universal design (UD) was printed in the May 2003 issue of the FUJITSU Magazine circulated throughout Japan. Around that time, with the announcements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in the US and the Japanese Government's e-Japan Priority Policy Program as the background, people started paying attention to universal design and environmental issues from the viewpoint of corporate management. ---[Chiaki Ito, Corporate Executive Vice President]

Concept for universal design

2. Fujitsu's Activities for Universal Design (92 KB)
The demand for universal design (UD) is growing worldwide. Particularly, in the information technology (IT) field, there are high expectations and demands for UD because it is closely linked to people's work and lifestyles. In Japan, UD is a social activity and companies are actively promoting its implementation. In this environment, Fujitsu is introducing human-centered design into the IT world (hardware, software, and the Web), the workplace (buildings, facilities, offices, and stores), and work styles (employment, safety, and sanitation). We are also promoting company-wide activities to ensure UD. UD is already providing easy-to-use products and services and is undoubtedly an important requirement for the coming ubiquitous society. This paper outlines UD promotion (mainly in Japan) and introduces Fujitsu's UD policies and the steps for achieving them. ---[Kimitaka Kato, Akihiro Iwazaki]

Environment surrounding universal design

3. ICT Accessibility in the U.S. ― Developments in Public and Private Sectors ― (67 KB)
In 1998, the U.S. Congress amended Section 508 of the Workforce Rehabilitation Act to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to persons with disabilities. This amendment fundamentally changed the responsibility placed on Federal agencies in relation to the accessibility of IT products. Section 508 now requires Federal agencies to procure accessible IT products for Federal workers and also make public information and data accessible. Responding to Section 508, industry has taken a leadership role by developing new assistive technologies (ATs) that incorporate information technology. Industry has also been central in creating a vehicle for businesses to convey to the U.S. Government the accessibility features of products. In the process, IT and AT companies, which increasingly rely on information and communications technologies (ICTs), are becoming aware of the competitive benefits of designing for the widest range of possible users. This paper examines the current state of ICT accessibility in the United States. ---[David Olive, Jamal Le Blanc]
4. State of Affairs in Universal Design in Europe (49 KB)
This paper outlines the status of the development of Universal Design (UD) in Europe. The term "Design for All" is used instead of the term "Universal Design" in Europe. Design for All relates to practical applications that can be used by people with the broadest possible spectrum of abilities and was divorced from the idea of design for people with disabilities. Therefore, in addition to Design for All, special solutions like those from design for disabled people must be generated at all times. But at present, research on the subject of UD has already progressed at astonishing speed toward the societal and demographic situation. UD projects are already initiated in European countries, and standardization concerning UD is planned to secure opportunities to access new international markets for barrier-free products and services in Germany. This paper describes the driving force behind UD and the status quo in the development of UD in Europe. ---[Georg Trost]
5. Japanese Government Measures for Promoting Universal Design (Correction of Digital Divide) (41 KB)
The Japanese Government formulated the e-Japan Strategy In January 2001 under the Basic Law on the Formation of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Network Society (IT Basic Law). This strategy sets a goal for Japan to become the world's most advanced IT nation by 2005. Since then, the Government has introduced detailed measures to be implemented expeditiously and intensively under annual e-Japan Priority Policy Programs. Especially, correction of the Digital Divide has consistently been specified as a cross-cutting issue to be resolved by implementation of the e-Japan Strategy. As the e-Japan Strategy has progressed, IT utilization has spread on a large scale. It is increasingly important to create an environment where everybody can actively use the various advanced services that are important in their lives and reach their individual potentials through information networks. This paper introduces the policies and measures for universal design of various Japanese ministries, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications; the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. These policies and measures are based on the concept that all citizens, regardless of age and physical circumstances, should be able to easily use IT services. ---[Tomokazu Horikoshi]
6. Trends toward Universal Design in Japan (82 KB)
On its way toward achieving a society based on information technology (IT), Japan has experienced the rapid spread of the Internet, cellular phones, and personal computers―all of which are becoming essential in our lives. Japan is also addressing the problems that will come with its aging population. Under these circumstances, universal design of IT products and services must be enhanced so everyone can benefit from the IT-based society regardless of age, physical functionality, knowledge, and experience. Japanese enterprises and national and local governments have been actively implementing universal design and improving IT infrastructures to make them highly accessible to everybody. However, the individual needs of elderly and disabled persons cannot be fully met solely by improvements in IT infrastructures. Problems in conforming to users' requirements are often solved by intermediate entities (supporters) situated between IT infrastructure providers and individual users. This paper describes the recent trends in the national and local governments and Japanese business regarding the implementation of universal design for the IT-based society. It also clarifies the problems to be solved for active use of IT by elderly and disabled persons. ---[Kayoko Ikeda]
7. Introduction to Guidelines for Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities (Japan Industrial Standard X 8341) and Fujitsu's Approach to Standardization (83 KB)
The Guidelines for older persons and persons with disabilities (Japan Industrial Standard [JIS] X 8341) were released in Japan in 2004 to help build an information-oriented society in which older persons and persons with disabilities can live comfortably. This standard is mainly intended for older persons and persons with long-term or temporary disabilities. It aims to assure and improve information accessibility from information processing equipment such as PCs, Web content, and electronic manuals. This paper introduces the background of this standard, specifically various U.S. laws, international standards, public guidelines available in Japan, and the movement toward standardization. Next, it explains how this standard is organized and how it was drawn up. It then excerpts some items from this standard to explain its concrete requirements and outlines Japanese efforts to develop an international standard and Fujitsu's approach to standardization. Finally, it describes some of the problems encountered when this standard is applied. ---[Junichi Iizuka]
8. Introduction to International Association for Universal Design (72 KB)
In Japan, many products incorporating Universal Design (UD) have recently been marketed and successes with such products have been increasing. In December 2002, the International Conference for Universal Design in Japan 2002 was held in Japan, this being the first conference on UD to be held in our country. Based on ideas proposed at this conference and the conclusions drawn, the International Association for Universal Design (IAUD) was inaugurated in November 2003. Membership of the IAUD is not limited to manufacturing industries. Its many members span all representative Japanese industries, from the distribution industry to the service industry. The IAUD will not just concern itself with educational programs related to UD and the promotion of UD, it is hoped that it will be an influential proactive organization that addresses complex UD problems that could not be solved by individual companies or industries, through cooperation between industry, government, and academia. This paper describes the history of the establishment of the IAUD, outlines its activities and reports on Designing for the 21st Century III, a recently held international conference on UD. Also, this paper looks at Fujitsu's involvement in the IAUD, the impact of the IAUD on business and its role in the creation of new business opportunities and gives an outlook for future activities. ---[Kunio Tsutatani]

Examples of promoting universal design

9. Fujitsu's Web Accessibility Solutions (200 KB)
Japan Industrial Standard JIS X 8341, "Guidelines for older persons and persons with disabilities ― information and communications equipment, software and services," has been established, and the Basic Law on the Formation of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Network Society has been enacted. The Web accessibility issues addressed by this standard and law have been of growing concern, mainly within government offices and local government agencies. However, it is difficult to enhance the accessibility of the Websites of government offices and local government agencies solely through measures such as checking and modifying individual content. This is because many of these Websites contain thousands to tens of thousands of pages. Efforts to study more efficient and effective solutions from the total viewpoints, including the construction and operation of Websites, are essential when enhancing Web accessibility. Fujitsu has provided Web accessibility solutions based on the results of our past efforts to help enhance the Web accessibility of government offices and local government agencies. This paper describes the problems of enhancing Web accessibility in government offices and local government agencies and introduces some Fujitsu Web accessibility solutions for solving them. ---[Yasuaki Takamoto, Yukinori Nagano]
10. Fujitsu's Efforts to Improve Web Accessibility (285 KB)
Efforts to improve Web accessibility are intensifying around the world. For example, in June 2004, the Japanese Standards Association established JIS X 8341-3 as an official Japanese industrial standard for information accessibility. When a company constructs an accessible Website as part of a Web accessibility enhancement program, it should not only conform to JIS X 8341-3 but also provide a support system for organized corporate activities, standardize its procedures for Website construction, and use guidelines that are consistent with standards in Japan and other countries. The Fujitsu Group started enhancing the accessibility of its Internet Websites in 2002 as part of its brand development project. It enjoyed high commendations when it received a 2003 Good Design Award and won first prize in the Usability Ranking of Corporate Sites of the Nikkei Personal Computing magazine. This paper describes the Fujitsu organized activities for enhancing Web accessibility that yielded these results and the Fujitsu system for realizing accessible Websites. ---[Kosuke Takahashi]
11. Improving Information Accessibility of FMV Series of PCs (315 KB)
Fujitsu is improving the accessibility of its FMV series of personal computers in processes from planning to operation so they can be easily used by as many people as possible, including older persons and persons with disabilities. With these efforts to improve accessibility, Fujitsu aims to ensure that everyone can easily access information anywhere and anytime. This paper describes our efforts to improve accessibility in four areas: Website production, hardware, software, and electronic manuals. First, it describes the basic concepts in each Website production process and gives some examples of our efforts in this area. Then, it describes some examples of our efforts to improve hardware from various viewpoints. Regarding software, it describes some utilities that make applications easier to use and describes how some software was made accessible-ready. Lastly, it describes examples of how we are improving our electronic manuals. ---[Junichi Iizuka, Makoto Morioka, Koji Tanaka]
12. Universal Design Activities for Mobile Phone: Raku Raku PHONE (350 KB)
Fujitsu's Raku Raku PHONE is an easy-to-use mobile phone for elderly persons, persons unfamiliar with mobile-phone operation, and persons with physical disabilities, for example, persons with visual disabilities. This highly accessible, user-friendly mobile phone makes full use of speech synthesis and voice recognition technologies and achieves good universal design through an ingenious combination of hardware, software, and user interface. In the development phase, we adopted a special process to aggressively research and evaluate product usability from users' viewpoints, clarify existing problems, and improve the design and user interface of mobile phones. This paper describes the steps taken to achieve universal design in the Raku Raku PHONE and the universal design features of its hardware, software, and audio functions. ---[Toru Irie, Keigo Matsunaga, Yukinori Nagano]
13. Promoting Universal Design of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) (205 KB)
Public services should be equally accessible to all users. Conversely, service users vary individually in terms of physical ability and experience in using the services. These individual differences have been a cause of a growing digital divide. The recent progress made in information technology has also provided more job and learning opportunities for those with disabilities, thus enhancing their social evolution. This trend can be seen in various countries that have established new guidelines for products and services and regulations concerning universal design. Before other companies, Fujitsu has always sought to implement universal design of its products and services in order to narrow the digital divide, while promoting improvements to machines and the development of new functions for automated machines used in banks, local government facilities, and hospitals. This paper describes Fujitsu's activities in promoting the universal design of automated machines, specifically Fujitsu's concept of universal design, methods of implementation, and the results of said activities. This paper also refers to new approaches being taken toward achieving the universal design of automated machines. ---[Takeo Asawa, Akinori Ohta, Taku Ando]
14. Universal Design for Workplace (146 KB)
As the legal system evolves regarding the promotion of universal design (UD) for the workplace (WP) (i.e., the buildings and facilities of companies), social awareness regarding the promotion of UD in the WP has also grown. UD helps improve WP use efficiency and the working environment of older persons and persons with disabilities. It is also recognized as a corporate social responsibility (CSR), given the fact that the UD practices of companies are often closely scrutinized, for example, by the public. Fujitsu believes that WP design from a total UD standpoint-including the design of IT that can be used by any employee without problems and IT-friendly WPs-will enhance the value of WPs, which are corporate assets, and become part of the comprehensive corporate promotion of UD. This paper introduces the social trends concerning the promotion of UD for the WP and the characteristics and benefits of promoting UD in WP design. It also cites examples of promoting UD in the WP, such as the establishment of Fujitsu Solution Square, a strategic stronghold for service business, and the preparation of certain guidelines on facility design. ---[Takashi Hirano, Keita Matsumoto, Kaori Nose]

Techniques and method

15. New Web-Usability Evaluation Method: Scenario-Based Walkthrough (271 KB)
Conventional methods of evaluating Web usability require skilled and experienced evaluators and are therefore expensive. In response, we have developed an original Web-usability evaluation method called Scenario-Based Walkthrough. With this method, an evaluator systematically describes user scenarios to attain the objectives of a Website and evaluates the user actions required to complete each scenario based on a cognitive model. Because the Website objectives are defined in scenarios, the evaluator can effectively identify critical problems that could hinder attainment of the objectives. Furthermore, the method can even be used by nonexpert users and therefore allows Website quality to be maintained at low cost. Even for a complex Website designed for multiple business objectives, this method can be used to effectively evaluate and improve it to achieve business objectives by selecting the high-priority objectives using a business analysis tool called an issue tree. This paper describes the problems of conventional Web-usability evaluation methods and development of the Scenario-Based Walkthrough method. It also describes the usability evaluation procedure of the method and a case example in which the method was used to evaluate and improve the usability of a Website for providing technical support to computer users. ---[Satoko Segawa, Masahiko Sugimura, Kazushi Ishigaki]
16. Web Accessibility Diagnosis Tools (154 KB)
Enhancing the accessibility of Websites enables persons with visual disabilities, including persons with color blindness, to enjoy the benefits of the Internet in the same way as persons without such disabilities. Under the present circumstances, however, few Websites are sufficiently accessible. To promote enhancement of Website accessibility, Fujitsu developed Fujitsu Accessibility Assistance, which is a tool group that diagnoses the requirements specified in the Fujitsu Web Accessibility Guidelines. This tool group is intended for Web page designers and office workers involved in such work as creating presentation materials. It consists of three software products: WebInspector 4.0, ColorSelector 4.0, and ColorDoctor 1.0. WebInspector 4.0 diagnoses whether Web pages can be read by persons with visual disabilities, including persons with color blindness. ColorSelector 4.0 enables real-time selection of the most suitable combination of background color and character color. ColorDoctor 1.0 simulates the way the coloring of characters and video images is visible to persons with color blindness. This paper describes the current conditions of Website accessibility and introduces the Fujitsu Web Accessibility Guidelines on which this tool group is based. It also looks at the evaluation of criteria from the standpoint of persons with color blindness and introduces the functions of this tool group. ---[Yasuaki Takamoto, Hideki Tosaka]
17. Web Accessibility Assist Tool: WebUD (210 KB)
The formulation of the e-Japan Priority Policy Program - 2004 and establishment of JIS X 8341, "Guidelines for older persons and persons with disabilities," have impacted activities for achieving compliance with Website accessibility requirements primarily in the field of public services. Ensuring Web accessibility for all citizens requires a thoughtful consideration for the elderly and disabled persons who have difficulty accessing Websites with standard browsers. Fujitsu has developed and offered WebUD, a Web accessibility assist tool intended for elderly and disabled persons. This tool has accessibility functions that can read out text, show kanji readings in kana, enlarge and reduce characters and images, change text and background colors, and assist input operations. WebUD is available on local government Websites, and anyone can download and install it on a personal computer simply by consenting to the license agreement on the Website. This tool helps elderly and disabled persons use the Internet actively and independently. This paper chiefly illustrates the accessibility functions of WebUD and also describes the requirements set out for WebUD development and the WebUD installation procedure. ---[Tomoyuki Ito, Masahiko Suzaki]