What is EN 301 549?
EN 301 549 “Accessibility requirements for ICT products and services” is a European Standard. It defines the requirements that products and services based on information and communication technologies (ICT) should meet to enable their use by persons with disabilities.
EN 301 549 is a harmonised standard, that supports the European Directive 2016/2102 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies (the Web Accessibility Directive). Therefore, it can be used to demonstrate compliance with that Directive. Annex A of EN 301 549 provides information on how to do so.
The standard is planned to be updated to also support the European Directive 2019/882 on the accessibility requirements for products and services.
Applicability of EN 301 549
EN 301 549 can be applied to any type of ICT-based products and services. This includes software (web pages, mobile applications, desktop applications…), hardware (smartphones, personal computers, information kiosks…) and any combination of hardware and software.
To that end, the requirements of the standard are self-scoping. This means that they consist of two parts; the first part is a precondition for the second part, which holds the actual requirement. If the precondition is met by a product or service, then the product or service must conform to the second part of the requirement.
How is EN 301 549 structured?
The standard contains, among other contents:
- A description of the needs of persons with disabilities, written as functional performance statements, explaining the functionality that is needed to enable users with different abilities to locate, identify and operate functions in technology (chapter 4).
- The accessibility requirements, organised by functions or product features, rather than by commercial product or service categories (chapters 5 to 13).
- The description of which requirements of the Standard presume conformance with European Directive 2016/2012 (the Web Accessibility Directive) (annex A).
- A description of the relationship between requirements and functional performance statements (annex B).
A short history of EN 301 549
This standard has been jointly produced by the three European standardisation organizations: CEN (European Committee for Standardisation), CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation) and ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute).
EN 301 549 was originally published in 2014 to support public procurement of accessible ICT, as a response to the European Commission Mandate 376. It has been updated several times since then.
The latest version of EN 301 549 V3.2.1 was published in 2021 and officially supports the Web Accessibility Directive since August 2021 (Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2021/1339).
EN 301 549 will be revised with the aim to publish V4.1.1 in 2025 in support of the European Directive (EU)2019/882 on the accessibility requirements for products and services (the European Accessibility Act), as a response to the European Commission Mandate 587. The revision work item of ETSI Technical Committee Human Factors (TC HF) can be seen via the Portal, along with its target schedule.