Welcome to this series of videos on Accessibility requirements for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe, the EN 301 549.

This is the eighth video.

It is sponsored by Microsoft and produced by Funka.

My name is Susanna Laurin and I am an accessibility expert with a long experience in standardisation.

In this video, we are going to take a closer look at chapter eight of the EN-standard, which covers hardware.

You may ask yourself, what does hardware mean in this context? In the EN-standard, this chapter covers both the hardware as such: the buttons and switches so to speak, but also how the user gets close enough to the hardware to actually use it.

It is a long chapter, with many technical details.

We will go through each subsection here, but you need to read the standard carefully to get hold of all the details and measurements.

This chapter has five subsections: 8.

1 has to do with General requirements.


2 is Hardware products with speech output 8.

3 covers Physical access to ICT 8.

4 is Mechanically operable parts and 8.

5 is Tactile indication of speech mode The first subsection of this chapter covers the general requirements for hardware.

There are three of these.

The first part states that the generic requirements of chapter 5 also apply to ICT that is hardware.

This means that chapter 5 – or video 5 – is a good place to start.

The second part talks about connection with other devices.

If the ICT makes it possible for the user to plug in private assistive technology like braille key board for input or headphones for output, the ICT must use a standard format so that common adapters work together with the ICT.

The connection point, no matter if it is a physical or wireless one, must not force the user to use a specific brand.

Examples of this industry standard, non-proprietary formats, could be for example Bluetooth or USB.

The third part has do to with color.

Since not all users can differenciate between all colors, the hardware must use more than only color to inform the user.

For example, if a green button means ”buy” and a red button means “cancel” the difference between them must be possible to understand even if the user is color blind.

One way of doing this is by describing the difference in text or using different shapes and sizes of the buttons.

The next subsection covers hardware products with speech output.

There are four requirements here, divided under two separate headings.

The first heading has to do with the speech volume and how the user can control it.

The first requirement on speech volume is about speech volume range If the ICT hardware has spoken audio, the user must be able to adjust the volume.

This is specified to the range of 18 dB.

There are also specific standards and protocols for handsets and headsets that can help you meet this requirement.

The second part talks about incremental volume control.

This means that if the volume can be adjusted gradually, there must be at least one step where the volume is set to 12 dB above the lowest volume setting.

Next heading has to do with magnetic coupling.

This is used in hearing teachnology.

When a phone or headset is compatible with hearing aid (often referred to as hearing aid compatible, HAC), magnetic coupling can be used to pick up changes in the electromagnetic field and convert them into an acoustic signal, which is then amplified by the hearing aid.

This part is divided into fixed line devices and wireless communication devices.

For both fixed line and wireless communication devices that are normally held to the ear, the requirement is that it must be possible to couple the device magnetically to hearing technologies in specific standards and protocols.

Fixed line devices are often marked with the letter ”T”.

The third subsection of chapter eight covers physical access to ICT.

This is a chapter with many details and measurements, but the user needs behind all of this is rather straight forward.

It has all to do with making it possible for as many users as possible to reach and physically operate the ICT.

The first part is general and informative.

It says that when you install ICT hardware, both the actual dimensions of the hardware and the environment around the ICT affect the accessibility.

This is what this whole subsection on physical access is about.

Sometimes, it might not be possible to apply all of these requirements when it comes to maintenance or repair, but it is best practice to do so when it is safe and feasible.

The dimensions in 8.

3 are the same as the ones you find in the american 2010 ADA standard for accessible design.

Clear floor or ground space is the first heading.

If the ICT hardware is built into something, you need to ensure that the environment also meets the requirements.

Examples of ICT that is built into something could be an elevator or an ATM or information kiosk that is built into the wall.

The first example of this kind of requirement is on level change.

If there is a change in floor level that is part of the ICT, it must have a ramp.

In the standard, there are specifications around how steep the ramp can be, because a steep ramp can be difficult, dangerous or even impossible to use.

This goes for manual as well as motor driven wheel chairs, and wheel chair users that get help from another person.

The next part has to do with clear floor or ground space around the ICT hardware.

It is important that the floor or ground around the ICT is clear so that physical access is possible no matter if the user is in a wheel chair or has other assistive technology or a person to help.

In the standard, there are minimum dimensions for this.

Next heading covers approaching the ICT.

The first part is general and states that at least one full side around the ICT hardware must be clear, if the ICT is built into something.

Like for example an ATM that is built into a wall.

This requirement is important for all users, but especially for users with motor impairements.

When the ICT is in a closed enviroment or an alcove, like an elevator there are minimum requirements for dimensions, both for forward and parallel approach.

These requirements make it possible for users with motor impairments to get close to the ICT.

The next part has to do with knee and toe clearance width.

This is important for users in a wheelchair.

Since most ICT needs to be operated with the hands, it is important that the wheelchair user can get close to the ICT, without hurting his or her toes or knees.

There are specific minimum requirements for both knee and toe clearance.

These requirements make it possible for users in a wheelchair to come close to the operable parts of the ICT.

After this comes the reach range for ICT hardware.

The illustrations and examples in the standard are mostly based on users in a wheelchair but these requirements are also important for short users, and users with other kinds of motor impairments.

In this section, there are requirements for forward reach and side reach.

Both these can have different conditions, like high or low reach, obstructed or unobstructed reach and of course ground or floor clearance.

That is why there are a lot of dimensions in this section.

But lets start with the forward reach.

If there is nothing blocking the user from reaching the ICT, that is called unobstructed reach There are two different requirements concerning forward reach, one regarding high level and the other one covering low level.

And we are still only talking about forward reach.

A short user, a user with impairments in arms or hands, or a user in a wheel chair must have the possibility to reach the ICT that is built into something.

The operable parts must not be placed too high nor too low.

And of course, nothing must be in the way! That is why this is called unobstructed reach.

If there is something in the way that hinders the forward reach, this is called obstructed reach.

The first part here has to do with clear floor space.

If the access space has a barrier – or obstruction – that is built into the ICT and that hinders access to important controls, it must be possible to come close enough to the ICT with the help of clear floor space under the barrier.

There are two different sections on obstructed forward reach, depending on the measurements, but the reasons behind them are the same a short user, a user in a wheelchair or a user with motor impairments in the upper parts of the body must have the possibility to reach the controls of the ICT.

Next heading covers side reach.

These sections cover the same topics as the former ones, but this time it has to do with the situation when the user needs to reach the ICT from the side instead of from a forward position.

The first part is unobstructed high side reach, which means if there is nothing blocking the user from reaching the ICT and what the user needs to reach for is up high.

The second part is unobstructed low side reach, which of course means the same thing but low.

So if there is nothing in the way and what the user needs to reach for is low, this is the requirement to look for.

And, it will come as no surprise to you that the next part has to do with obstructed side reach, that is when something is in the way for the user.

The obstructed side reach is divided in two different parts depending on the measurements, the first one being less than 255 mm and the other one less than 610 mm side reach.

Next part of this subsection has to do with visibility.

For users in a wheel chair it is essential that information on the screen is readable from the angle where you sit.

This is why this requirement says that the screen must be readable from a point 1015 mm or 40 inches above the center of the floor of the so called operating area.

The operating area is defined in 8.






5 covers installation instructions.

If the ICT has installation instructions, these must include the requirements from 8.


2 up to 8.



That means speech output, physical access and mechanically operable parts.

The next subsection covers mechanically operable parts.

The first requirement on mechanically operable parts has to do with numeric keys.

When the ICT hardware includes a physical numeric keybord designed in a rectangle, this must have a tactile number 5 in the middle, to make it possible for the user who can not see to distinguish it from the rest of the keys and thereby orient him- or herself on the keyboard.

The details on how to make tactile markers and further layout recommendations for phone keybords can be found in other standards and protocols.

The next heading has to do with operation of mechanical parts which is divided into means of operation and force of operation.

The first requirement covers means of operation of mechanical parts.

If the user needs to grasp, pinch or twist something to operate the ICT hardware, there need to be an alternative way of doing this, since not all users will be able to perform the needed movement.

Speech input could be one example of meeting the need of this requirement.

The second requirement has do to with force of operation of mechanical parts.

If the user needs to use a certain force to operate the ICT hardware, an alternative that requires less force must be provided.

The specific requirement in the standard is comparable to a pressure of approximately 2 kilo.

If the ICT gives you a ticket or key of some sort and this ticket must be put into the machine in a certain way, the ticket must have a shape or other tactile means that makes it possible for the user to understand how to use it.

This is important for visually impaired users, or users that can not read.

There are also specific standards with recommendations for tactile indications for plastic cards.

The last subsection in chapter 8 is 8.

5, tactile indication of speech mode.

This whole subsection consists of only one requirement.

If the ICT hardware is offering speech mode, that is audio with spoken instructions or similar, there need to be a tactile way of telling if the speech mode is on or off.

This could for example be made using Braille.

Remember, the hardware of ICT is just as important as the software.

You need to meet the genereic requirements of chapter 5 as well as chapter 8 of the EN-standard when you procure or develop hardware.

Keep in mind that there is a real risk of blocking usage for groups of users if the physical acess is not catered for.

Even if that might not be the first thing that springs to your mind when thinking of accessibility requirements for ICT.

If you would like to know more: Please have a look at our other videos.

There is one video for each chapter.

Thanks for watching!.