The UD Phenomenon in Japan: Product Innovation Through Universal Design

The uptake of Universal Design (UD) by manufacturing industries in Japan has been a recent and extensive phenomenon. The sector has identified the significant market opportunities brought about by the rapidly changing needs and lifestyle aspirations of its ageing society. In this review, the author discusses innovation in products, specifically mobile phones, developed through a UD philosophy, within the context of Japanese manufacturing corporate culture and the wider national goal for a socially integrated environment. Corporate literature and product marketing material are also referenced as a means of revealing the relationship between company and customer. The author asks what value can be obtained from understanding the factors stimulating and supporting this phenomenon and if this UD approach in Japan can be translated outwith its unique corporate and national cultures for further applications elsewhere.

From Chapter in edited book (Universal Acess in Human Computer Interaction. Coping with Diversity), published on 24-08-2007
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  • Alastair S. Macdonald


  • Innovation research


  • Communication
  • Manufacturing

Covered areas

  • Asia
  • Japan


  • Ageing population
  • Design

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