ETSI simplifies ICT end-users’ lives with a guide available in 19 European languages

Sophia Antipolis, 21 July 2022

ETSI is pleased to announce the new version of the ETSI Guide EG 203 499, developed by experts from the Human Factors Technical Committee. The guide aims to further simplify end-user access to ICT devices, services and applications by providing recommended terms for basic and commonly used ICT-related objects and activities, notably the terms that end users are commonly exposed to.

The newly published ETSI EG 203 499, titled “User-centred terminology for existing and upcoming ICT devices, services and applications”, now provides reference terminology for ICT users in 19 major official languages of the EU/EFTA, each  of these being spoken by at least 5 million native speakers in Europe: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Spanish, and Swedish.

The terms (words, labels) used in the User Interface (UI) of a device, service or application may constitute an obstacle for their users, if they are not familiar with the terms, or if they are unsure about their meaning. While some terms are introduced by manufacturers to denote a new class of features, or to distinguish their own features from those offered by competitors, most other terms denoting device or service features are not necessarily intended to be differentiated. However, in the absence of a harmonized or recommended terminology, the use of these terms may differ significantly between manufacturers and service providers, thereby introducing ambiguity for end users.

Consistency across the basic interactive elements increases the ease and transfer of learning and improves the overall usability of complex mobile ICT environments.

Transfers become even more important when older users or people with limited cognitive functions are addressed and are expected to use smartphones, mobile services and Internet applications in most walks of everyday life, such as sending an email, transferring a call, or setting an alarm for example,” says Matthias Schneider, Chair of the ETSI Human Factors Technical Committee. “The European Commission co-funded this ETSI work, and we are pleased to see that ICT usability is high on their agenda”.

A harmonized terminology can also be fed into the terminology management systems used in companies to guarantee the consistent use of terms across products and the internal and external documentation (e.g., design documents, user guides and promotional materials).

ETSI EG 203 499 covers more than 800 terms from a range of functional areas including accessibility, telephony, photography, and navigation.

The selection and validation process of the terms applied throughout their development, in collaboration with stakeholders, is expected to add a qualitative dimension to the recommended vocabulary that would be difficult to achieve through an individual effort, and to contribute to the use and uptake of this freely available public resource.

The ETSI guide ETSI EG 203 499User-centred terminology for existing and upcoming ICT devices, services and applications” can be freely downloaded.

About ETSI
ETSI provides members with an open and inclusive environment to support the development, ratification and testing of globally applicable standards for ICT systems and services across all sectors of industry and society. We are a non-profit body, with more than 950 member organizations worldwide, drawn from 64 countries and five continents. The members comprise a diversified pool of large and small private companies, research entities, academia, government, and public organizations. ETSI is officially recognized by the EU as a European Standardization Organization (ESO). For more information, please visit us at

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