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

With the European Commission (EC) standardization request M/473, CEN endeavours 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. This work is 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.


The methodology and the standardization work

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 address  the concept of ‘Accessibility’ broadly  in the European Standardization system. For further information, see the Sector Forum section.

A methodology, called ‘Protocol’ that helps Technical Bodies or standardizers to decide if and how accessibility following a Design for All approach should be addressed when reviewing an existing, or developing a new standardization project. The Protocol may be used at any stage of the standardization process.

The ‘Protocol’ process is explained by a series of documents available to the public to understand when accessibility following a Design for All approach is relevant, with examples of context of use, environmental and human limitations.

Priority areas

  • Instructions for use and labelling;
  • Packaging;
  • Electrical and electronic equipment/household appliances;
  • Self-service machines;
  • On-line services;
  • Communication, information and signalling.

Recommendations and workplan

Ongoing work

The monitoring of the ’Protocol’ application for revised or new standardization deliverables.


Do you need help or want to know more?

To decide if and how accessibility following a ‘Design for All’ approach should be addressed when reviewing an existing, or developing a new standardization project within your CEN/TC or WG, please contact:

To receive general information on standards and accessibility, please contact:


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