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EN 301 549

EN 301 549 is the European standard for digital accessibility. This standard mandates that all mobile applications in the public sector must be fully accessible. No matter what disability a person might have, they should be able to access the same information as those without disabilities.

What does this mean for you as a developer?

What you have to do to comply is laid down in the standard EN 301 549 by means of requirements. In total, reference is made to 44 success criteria from version 2.1 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. What those are exactly, is listed immediately below. Followed by an explanation of the structure of this standard.

Success Criteria which apps must meet

The list below shows all success criteria which apps must meet according to EN 301 549:

Apps do not need to conform to 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks, 2.4.2 Page Titled, 2.4.5 Multiple Ways, 3.1.2 Language of Parts, 3.2.3 Consistent Navigation and 3.2.4 Consistent Identification. However, we recommend that you still try to meet these criteria.

EN 301 549 structure

The standard EN 301 549 consists of 14 clauses and 6 annexes.

  • Clauses 0 to 3 contain background information, the scope of the standard, links to references, definitions of terminology and explanations of abbreviations. These clauses have a lot of valuable information, but it can be hard to read the standard from A to Z.

  • Clause 4 covers functional performance statements, which are directly related to end-user needs. The clause explains what functionality is needed to enable end users to locate, identify and operate functions in technology, no matter of their abilities. This is an important clause where you can learn about what challenges accessibility requirements aim to solve.

  • Clauses 5 to 13 are the actual technical requirements. The technical requirements cover many different kinds of ICT divided into separate clauses. Examples of ICT are web pages, electronic content, telecommunications products, computers and ancillary equipment, software including mobile applications, information kiosks and transaction machines, videos, IT services, and multifunction office machines which copy, scan, and fax documents.

  • Clauses 9, 10 and 11 are the ones that are most relevant to the European Web Accessibility Directive. They cover websites, documents and apps. However, requirements from other clauses apply, as listed in the tables in Annex A.

  • Clause 14 deals with conformance to EN 301 549 as a whole and to the individual requirements.

  • Annex A describes how the standard relates to the European Web Accessibility Directive. Apart from the minimum requirements in clauses 9, 10 and 11, some of the requirements in clauses 5, 6, 7 and 12 can also be relevant to fulfill the Directive, in specific situations. The tables in Annex A show which of the requirements are important to look at.

  • Annex B describes how the functional performance statements of clause 4 relate to the technical requirements in clauses 5 to 13. This is a useful tool for compare what impact certain choices have on the experience of end-users.

  • Annex C describes how you can test that each requirement of the standard is met. The annex does not provide a testing methodology and you still have to know quite a lot about functional performance statements and testing procedures to make use of it.

  • Annex D provides links to further resources for cognitive accessibility.

  • Annex E provides an overview and simple explanation of the structure of the norm.

  • Annex F provides a change history table.

Clause 11 applies to software, which includes mobile applications (apps). Clauses 11.1 to 11.5 contain the requirements, which reference 44 Success Criteria from version 2.1 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Depending on the functionalities of your app, you might need to meet additional requirements from clauses 5, 6, 7 and 12.