Launch of a new standard on design for accessibility

I.S. EN 17161 Front Cover

I.S. EN 17161:2019 ‘Design for All - Accessibility following a Design for All approach in products, goods and services - Extending the range of users’ is a European process Standard about using a Universal Design (Design for All) approach at all levels in organisations to continuously improve and manage the accessibility and usability of the products and services they provide.

Organisations can really benefit from “Extending their range of users” by providing mainstream products and services that are easy to “access, understand and use”.

The standard specifies requirements and recommendations that enables an organization to extend their range of users by; identifying diverse user needs, characteristics, capabilities, and preferences, by directly or indirectly involving users, and by using knowledge about accessibility in its procedures and processes.

This standard is relevant to organisations that design, manufacture and provide products and services and that want to increase their market share. It can be used in procurement for award criteria, as part of complying with accessibility legislation and to help advance corporate social responsibility.

For more on the Universal Design approach you can learn from the family of personas called the “Normals” that are on the front cover of the I.S. EN 17161 standard. “Meet the Normals” is an animation about the Universal Design approach in practice. Find at:

This standard recognises that Universal Design as used in Ireland has a similar meaning to other terms such as; “Design for All”, “accessible design”, “barrier-free design”, “inclusive design” and “transgenerational design”.

I.S. EN 17161 will be familiar and easy to use for many organisations because it has a structure similar to Management Systems Standards such as ISO 9001.

Workshops and seminars are being planned to help introduce this new standard. Interested parties and key stakeholders are exploring the use of the new standard to demonstrate conformance with a best practice approach to ensuring accessibility and usability in their organisations. For more information contact

The standard will be available on shortly. In the interim, if you would like a copy, please contact NSAI standards team on 01 857 6730 or email

I.S. EN 17161 NSAI Press Release