Technical Committee (TC) Human Factors (HF) Activity Report 2023

Chair: Matthias Schneider, Hillebrand Consulting Engineers GmbH

Responsible for developing standards, guidelines and reports relating to end-user aspects and accessibility of information and communication technology systems, products and services.

Human Factors is the scientific application of knowledge about human capacities and limitations to make products, systems, services, and environments effective, efficient and easy for everyone to use. It is a key factor for the commercial success of any ICT product or service in the digital networked economy. 

In ETSI we are helping to achieve these objectives through the work of our Technical Committee on Human Factors (TC HF). The committee has primary responsibility to produce standards, guidelines and reports that set the criteria necessary to embed optimum usability in the emerging digital networked economy. Its work on the development of standards for accessibility of ICT products and services is conducted to support EU regulations, and in line with international best practices.

TC HF co-operates with other groups within ETSI and outside to assist in the production of standards and other deliverables in accordance with good Human Factors practice. Within ETSI it has a responsibility for ‘Design for All’, addressing all users including children, seniors and people with special accessibility needs. 

In April 2023 ETSI published TC HF’s Technical Report TR 103 852 ‘An Examination of Video Game Usability and Accessibility’. Describing issues arising from inconsistency of usability and accessibility in video game controls, the report identifies the role of standards-based solutions in ensuring consistent design practise. Usability and accessibility measures covered in the report relate to users with hearing, vision, touch, cognitive and motor control types of disabilities.

Meanwhile work was launched during the year on these new items:

  • A new standard (to be published as ES 204 009) addressing functional, service and accessibility requirements from a Human Factors perspective, relating to requirements of the European Accessibility Act (EAA). The EAA requires the provision of Total Conversation services, avoiding both proprietary solutions and the need for user pre-registration. The standard will additionally provide guidance on ensuring that Total Conversation services for emergency communications are implemented in a manner that accommodates Human Factors aspects.
  • Revision of ETSI’s previously published standard (EN 301 549) on accessibility requirements for ICT products and services. EN 301 549 continues to be adopted internationally. After Australia, Japan and Morocco in the past, and the Bureau of Indian Standard at the end of 2021, interest has also been expressed by the authorities in Canada to adopt the EN 301 549 as a national standard. 

Meanwhile the committee finalized further revisions to ETSI Guide ‘User-centred terminology for existing and upcoming ICT devices, services and applications; Device and service terminology’ (EG 203 499), extending device and service terminology from 19 to 27 languages to cover all official languages in EU member states.

Throughout 2023 TC HF continued its participation in the CEN/CENELEC/ETSI Joint Technical Board on eAccessibility, operating under Mode 5 of the ESOs Cooperation Agreement, which is coordinating some of the activities required under Mandate M/587. Work was also planned on revisions to the standard EN 301 549 ‘Accessibility requirements for ICT products and services’ in order to align with new requirements of the Standardization Request related to the European Accessibility Act and upcoming WCAG 2.2 of W3C. A project space for the drafting of EN 301 549 v4.1.1 in GitLab is available to ETSI, CEN and CENELEC members and stakeholders at

TC HF also continued to coordinate the response to standardization request M/587 with TC EMTEL, the ETSI committee that is responsible for the development of a harmonised standard for the accessibility and interoperability of emergency communications – also a part of M/587.

In recent years TC HF has played a significant role in making ETSI’s own standardization processes more accessible and inclusive. As approved by the ETSI Board and General Assembly in 2022, ETSI’s Accessibility Policy formally came into force in January 2023, followed by the definition of the strategy how to achieve the objectives of the Accessibility Policy. Work on implementing the accessibility strategy has started in late 2023.

See a full list of TC HF Work Items currently in development here.