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A new design standard to help organisations bring their products and services to a wider audience has been launched by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) and the National Disability Authority (NDA).

I.S. EN 17161:2019 enables businesses to apply a Universal Design approach for accessibility. This means, products, and services can be accessed, understood and used by a wide range of people, including older persons and persons with disabilities.

The document sets out requirements for an organisation so that they can extend their range of users by identifying diverse needs, by directly or indirectly involving users, and by using knowledge about accessibility in its processes and procedures.

James Hubbard, from the NDA’s Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, chaired the technical committee for this standard:

“As we work together toward achieving a more equitable society, it has been a privilege to have participated in standardising an approach that advances accessibility and usability for all, to better inform our decisions, on the world we design.”

The standard set outs requirements to assist an organisation in meeting its statutory and regulatory requirements in terms of accessibility to its products, goods and services.

“The requirements set out in the standard are intended to be applicable to all organisations, regardless of type, size who manufacture or provide products and services, “ said Geraldine Larkin, NSAI Chief Executive.  

“NSAI wants to ensure that products placed on the market or services offered, are of the highest standard and are available to the widest range of users possible,” she added.

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.

Workshops and seminars are being planned to introduce the 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.

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




I.S. EN 17161:2019 was developed by CEN/CLC/JTC 12 - ‘Design for All’, as part of the deliverable under European Commission Mandate 473.

Elizabeth O’ Ferrall, Standards Development, is the key contact for accessibility at the National Standards Authority Ireland.

NSAI’s Elizabeth O’Ferrall is available for interview. To arrange please contact:

NSAI’s PR Account Manager, Deirdre Farrelly: 086 869 0774 Email:

About NSAI:

NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland) is Ireland’s official standards body. It is responsible for standardization, conformity assessment and measurement. Where a standard already exists, NSAI works with organisations and businesses to help them apply it.  Where a standard may be needed, NSAI will work with relevant parties at national or international level to create and develop the appropriate standard.  NSAI improves the performance of organisations and protects consumers through the setting of standards and issuing of certification in the quality and safety of goods and services.


About NDA:

The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design is part of the National Disability Authority. The National Disability Authority is the independent state body providing expert advice on disability policy and practice to Government, and promoting Universal Design in Ireland. See

Universal Design is the term used in Ireland rather than Design for All.

Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.

Universal design is being promoted at International, European and National levels as a way to enhance innovation and create a more inclusive society. Universal design prioritises all peoples’ needs in design. The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design participates in the development and promotion of design standards and guidelines as a way to promote Universal Design in Ireland. See more at

You may find more information about EN 17161:2019 on Design for All and Accessibility on the CEN – CENELEC website.