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EN 301549 - European Standard on accessibility
Feb 5 2019
Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe - EN 301 549. The European Standardization Organizations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) have published a new European Standard on accessibility requirements for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) products and services.
Definition of Information and Communication Technology (ICT): technology, equipment, or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment for which the principal function is the creation, conversion, duplication, automatic acquisition, storage, analysis, evaluation, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data or information.
The aim of the Standard is to make ICT Products and services accessible for all.
With 80 million people in the EU currently living with disabilities, it is mission critical that the public sector promote the use of accessible technology.
When organizations such as governments and schools buy and use accessible technology, digital inclusion can thrive and doors are opened for people to expand their education, get jobs and access public services.
This implementation might be useful for other purposes such as procurement in the private sector.
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The standard is based on WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) and is complemented by a series of three Technical Reports (TR 101 550, TR 101 551 and TR 101 552). Together, these documents set out accessibility requirements that can be applied to a wide range of products and services related to ICT, including computers, smartphones and other digital devices, ticketing machines, websites and emails. The aim is to ensure that ICT products and services are accessible either directly or through compatibility with assistive technologies such as text-to-speech, so that everyone can access information and use services that are being delivered electronically.
The European Standard EN 301 549 is available (in English) on the ETSI website. During the next six months it will be published (in various languages) by the members of CEN (National Standards Bodies) and CENELEC (National Electrotechnical Committees) in 33 European countries (including all Member States of the EU and EFTA).
Understanding WCAG 2.1 is an essential guide to understanding and using "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1" (WCAG2.1). The concepts and provisions may be new to some people. Understanding WCAG 2.1 provides a non-normative extended commentary on each guideline and each Success Criterion to help readers better understand the intent and how the guidelines and Success Criteria work together. It also provides examples of techniques or combinations of techniques that the Working Group has identified as being sufficient to meet each Success Criterion. Links are then provided to write-ups for each of the techniques.
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In the last years several new laws were created to help persons with disabilities (PWD). Some examples are: Section 508 or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the USA, or the European Union Law EU 301549 Did you know that just over 15% of have a disability?