Design for All 

The Design for All approach

The ‘Design for All’ (DfA) approach means design for human diversity, inclusion and equality. Its aim is to enable maximum use of products, goods and services. 

The European context and Mandate M/473

The Mandate M/473 “Standardization mandate to CEN, CENELEC and ETSI to Include Design for All in relevant standardization initiatives” was formally issued from European Commission in September 2010 and accepted by CEN and CENELEC in March 2011.   With the European Commission (EC) standardization request M/473, CEN endeavors to include accessibility following a ‘Design for All’ approach in relevant standardization activities for products and services. The Mandate seeks to achieve long-standing policy objectives surrounding inclusion and equality.

The work and activities performed under the execution of M/473 started December 2013 and the deliverables were completed March 2019.

The work was financed by an EC/EFTA Grant Agreement, which is also providing funding for a Task Group Coordinator and a pool of experts representing national and/or European organization of persons with disabilities and older people.

In the context of this mandate, ‘accessibility’ is referred to as “the extent to which products, systems, services, environments or facilities can be used by people from a population with the widest range of characteristics and capabilities to achieve a specified goal in a specified context of use”. People with disabilities and ageing population, among others, benefit directly from a product, good or service when it is easy to access, understand and use.

Key outcome

Deliverable D1.1

  • Part 1: The “CEN-CENELEC Protocol on accessibility following a Design for All approach in standardization”. This outlines the procedure (protocol) to help the technical bodies to decide whether accessibility following a Design for All should be addressed when developing or revising a standardization deliverable.
  • Part 2: Recommendations on the effective implementation of the CEN-CENELEC Protocol on accessibility following a Design for All approach in standardization”
    Download the manual and the Protocol forms

Deliverable D1.2

  • Identification of prioritized standardization areas which are the most urgent for people with disabilities and older persons:
  1. Instructions for use and labelling;
  2. Packaging;
  3. Electrical and electronical equipment/household appliances;
  4. Self-service machines;
  5. On-line services;
  6. Communication, information and signaling.

Deliverable D2.1 Work plan

Deliverable D3.1 Monitoring Standardization Processes

Deliverable 4.1

  • EN 17161 Design for All- Accessibility following a Design for All approach in products, goods and services- Extending the range of users.

Download the full report M/473 D2.1 Workplan (PDF format)
Download the manual and the Protocol forms (ZIP file)

CEN/BT/WG 213 Strategic Advisory Group on Accessibility (SAGA), responsible for the overall execution of M/473, is also working on an overall strategy on how to address the concept of ‘Accessibility’ broadly in the European Standardization system. For further information, see the Sector Forum section.

Do you need help or want to know more?

Marit Kveine Nygren, PhD –SAGA BT/WG 213 Secretary - Email 
Claire Dalier, CCMC Project Manager - Email

News and events

Webinar: "How to address accessibility, following the "Design for All" approach, in the standardization process"
Watch the Webinar
Training sessions in CCMC (2019-02-20)
In 2019, the EN 17161:2019 ‘Design for All - Accessibility following a Design for All approach in products, goods and services - Extending the range of users’ was published. This European standard aims to help organisations align with a consistent approach to address accessibility for persons with disabilities. It specifies requirements that can enable an organisation to design, develop and provide products, goods and services that can be accessed, understood and used by the widest range of users including persons with disabilities.’


Technical bodies and activities

CEN-CENELEC JTC 12 Design for All

Useful links and documents