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The first european standard of accessibility of information technologies

06 february 2014

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Functional requirements that will ensure that ict products to be accessible to all persons; from mobile phones to computers, via web pages, targeting both to public procurement and all other uses.

The european standardization organizations CEN (european committee for standardization), CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) and ETSI (european institute of telecommunications standardization) have adopted the first european norm of accessibility for products and services of information and communication technologies (ICT).

This rule, 301 549 ‘ accessibility requirements for procurement of ict products in europe ’, establishes the functional requirements that will ensure that ict products to be accessible to all persons; for example, from a mobile phone to computers, via web pages; thus, the requirements for the web are based on the accessibility of web content WCAG 2.0, developed by THE W3C, being in line with the standard UNE 139803 spanish ‘ accessibility requirements for Web content. In addition, the european standard describes the testing procedures and methodology for assessment of each of them.

This rule is the result of the mandate 376 of the european commission to develop a european standard, with the participation of all stakeholders and by consensus. AENOR (Opens in new window) the Secretariat of the working group.

The document, due in february, is orientated towards public procurement as well as to other uses; indeed, the european directive on public procurement, recently adopted by the european parliament, provides for the application of accessibility requirements for persons with disabilities. The legislation will be adopted shortly to the spanish as a catalogue UNE-EN 301 549 by AENOR, the legal entity responsible for the development of technical standards in Spain.

The joint working group responsible for the documents are composed of a representative sample of the parties concerned: industry leaders (Microsoft, IBM, Blackberry, Adobe, Nokia and Siemens, among others), independent organizations (W3C), associations of users and persons with disabilities (EDF, ANEC), universities (UPM -Universidad service- hydro Polytechnic) or the Public Administration (European commission, Spanish ministry of health, social services and equality), among others.

The technical rules contain good practices and market consensus on how best to address important processes to organizations and to society at large and, therefore, considerably reduce the uncertainty of business in addressing a new market or process. The standards are developed with the participation of the parties involved in each case and are the fruit of consensus.

In addition to this european standard, there have also adopted three technical reports to it:

  • TR 101 550 'documents for the rule IN 301 549 ‘ accessibility requirements for procurement of ict products in europe ’.
  • TR 101 551 ‘ guidelines for the use of the criteria for granting relating to accessibility for procurement of ict products in europe ”.
  • TR 101 552 ‘ guidelines for conformity assessment in accessibility requirements for procurement of ict products in europe ’.

It is also developing an online tool that will help in functional requirements that may be necessary to draw up lists of requirements, aglutinando information most relevant of those four documents.

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  • Accessibility