EN 17161 can provide a framework for an organisation’s procedures and processes to extend the range of users of its products and services, taking account of human diversity – the diverse range of characteristics and capabilities that people have. EN 17161 also helps organisations use a consistent approach for addressing accessibility, to help meet some of its statutory obligations.

In this project, selected parts of EN 17161 were used as a framework for applying a Universal Design approach to the provision of products and services to older people in order that they may live independently at home. EN 17161 requires an organisation to consider and involve a wide range of users in its design and procurement decisions to optimise accessibility and usability. It also calls for aligning with and applying relevant accessibility related resources and references.

Implementation of EN 17161 in the ALONE project processes influenced design decisions that improved effectiveness of the project’s accessibility objectives. The approach in EN 17161 also complemented ALONE’s use of the standards, EN 301 549:2021 ‘Accessibility requirements for ICT products and services’ and ISO/IEC Guide 71 / CEN-CENELEC Guide 6:2014 ‘Guide for addressing accessibility in standards’, to evaluate, select and procure accessible technology in the same project[1].

As part of the project follow-on activities, Appendix A displays text for a post project case study. ALONE states that it will integrate EN 17161 directly into its future strategies along with continuing with related staff training for further application of the standard.

[1] ‘Guidance on Procurement of Technology through Application of EN 301 549’ provides further information, including the application of EN 301 549 to procuring technology by ALONE as part of their Sláintecare project.