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Latest changes to accessibility standard

Find out about the latest changes to accessibility standard EN 301 549 and the rationale behind them.

© iStock by Getty Images -1267390670 Chansom Pantip

Introduction

Standards can take a long time to be developed, as they require agreement from many different parties. As far as the WAD is concerned, only once a modified standard is harmonised through a reference in the Official Journal, does it have legal significance. So new versions of the WCAG or of EN 301 549 do not automatically change the legal obligations of the Member States with respect to the WAD.

In order for changes to have an effect on the WAD, first, the standard has to be updated, and then it needs to be referenced in the Official Journal.  The last change happened in August 2021. In this case EN 301 549 v2.1.2, which was referenced in the Official Journal in 2018, was replaced by v3.2.1. An overlap of several months until February 2022 was provided for in the legislation.

Reference lists on this page:

Changes in v3.2.1

The following table lists the changes between v2.1.2 and v3.2.1 of EN 301 549. Both versions build heavily on WCAG 2.1. Since WCAG 2.1 has not changed in this period, the changes in the new version are quite small. One important change in v3.2.1, due to an editorial oversight in v2.1.2, is that WCAG 2.1 now applies to documents downloaded from the web.

Clauses added in v3.2.1

Note that the row number in the first column refers to the row in Table A.1 of Annex of EN 301 549, v3.2.1.

RowRequirementRationale
206.5.4 Synchronization between audio and videoWas upgraded from a recommendation to a requirement in version 3.2.1
216.5.5 Visual indicator of audio with videoA new requirement in version 3.2.1
226.5.6 Speaker identification with video (sign language) communicationA new requirement in version 3.2.1
267.1.4 Captions characteristicsA new requirement in version 3.2.1
277.1.5 Spoken subtitlesA new requirement in version 3.2.1
819.6 WCAG conformance requirementsThis was in version 2.1.2 (as 9.5) but wrongly omitted from Table A.1
82 to 126Downloadable document requirements (all based on WCAG 2.0Newly added to Table A.1 in version 3.2.1 for the reason described above in 2.

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Clauses removed in v3.2.1

Note that the row number in the first column refers to the row in Table A.1 of Annex of EN 301 549, v2.1.2.

RowRequirementRationale
45.5.1 Means of operationWill automatically be met if all of the WCAG 2.1 SCs are met
55.5.2 Operable parts discernibilityWill automatically be met if all of the WCAG 2.1 SCs are met
65.6.1 Tactile or auditory statusWill automatically be met if all of the WCAG 2.1 SCs are met
75.6.2 Visual statusWill automatically be met if all of the WCAG 2.1 SCs are met
85.7 Key repeatWill automatically be met if all of the WCAG 2.1 SCs are met
95.8 Double-strike key acceptanceWill automatically be met if all of the WCAG 2.1 SCs are met
105.9 Simultaneous user actionsWill automatically be met if all of the WCAG 2.1 SCs are met
309.1.2.4 Captions (live)The WAD "does not apply to live time-based media".

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Requirements in EN 301 549 and relevant to the WAD, but not in WCAG 2.1

This tables lists the requirements of EN 301 549 that go beyond WCAG 2.1, based on Table A.1 (covering websites) of Annex A in EN 301 549 v3.2.1. 

To note: Table A.2 (covering mobile applications) is not covered by WCAG at all, even though it makes use of requirements from WCAG. This is because the WCAG does not actually apply to mobile applications.

Note that the row number in the first column refers to the row of Table A.1 of Annex of EN 301 549, v3.2.1.

RowClause in v3.2.1 of the standardCondition
15.2 Activation of accessibility featuresWhere web content has documented accessibility features
25.3 BiometricsWhere web content uses biological characteristics
35.4 Preservation of accessibility information during conversionWhere web content converts information or communication
46.1 Audio bandwidth for speechWhere web pages provide two-way voice communication
56.2.1.1 RTT communicationWhere web pages provide two-way voice communication
66.2.1.2 Concurrent voice and textWhere web pages provide a means for two-way voice communication and for users to communicate by RTT
76.2.2.1 Visually distinguishable displayWhere web pages have RTT send and receive capabilities
86.2.2.2 Programmatically determinable send and receive directionWhere web pages have RTT send and receive capabilities
96.2.2.3 Speaker identificationWhere web pages have RTT capabilities, and provide speaker identification for voice
106.2.2.4 Visual indicator of Audio with RTTWhere web pages provide two-way voice communication, and have RTT capabilities
116.2.3 Interoperability item a)Where web pages with RTT functionality interoperate with other ICT with RTT functionality (as required by clause 6.2.1.1)
126.2.3 Interoperability item b)Where web pages with RTT functionality interoperate with other ICT with RTT functionality (as required by clause 6.2.1.1)
136.2.3 Interoperability item c)Where web pages with RTT functionality interoperate with other ICT with RTT functionality (as required by clause 6.2.1.1)
146.2.3 Interoperability item d)Where web pages with RTT functionality interoperate with other ICT with RTT functionality (as required by clause 6.2.1.1)
156.2.4 RTT responsivenessWhere web pages utilise RTT input
166.3 Caller IDWhere web pages provide provides caller identification or similar telecommunications functions
176.4 Alternatives to voice-based servicesWhere web pages provide real-time voice-based communication and also provide voice mail, auto-attendant, or interactive voice response facilities
186.5.2 Resolution item a)Where web pages that provide two-way voice communication includes real-time video functionality
196.5.3 Frame rate item a)Where web pages that provide two-way voice communication includes real-time video functionality
206.5.4 Synchronization between audio and videoWhere web pages provide two-way voice communication include real-time video functionality
216.5.5 Visual indicator of audio with videoWhere web pages provide two-way voice communication, and include real-time video functionality
226.5.6 Speaker identification with video (sign language) communicationWhere web pages provide speaker identification for voice users
237.1.1 Captioning playbackWhere web content displays video with synchronized audio
247.1.2 Captioning synchronizationWhere web content displays captions
257.1.3 Preservation of captioningWhere web pages transmit, convert or record video with synchronized audio
267.1.4 Captions characteristicsWhere web content displays captions
277.1.5 Spoken subtitlesWhere web content displays video with synchronized audio
287.2.1 Audio description playbackWhere web content displays video with synchronized audio
297.2.2 Audio description synchronizationWhere web content has a mechanism to play audio description
307.2.3 Preservation of audio descriptionWhere web pages transmit, convert, or record video with synchronized audio
317.3 User controls for captions and audio descriptionWhere web pages primarily display materials containing video with associated audio content
82 to 126  Essentially the parts of WCAG that can be applied to downloaded documents. Note that WCAG itself does not apply to downloaded documents.Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web page
12711.7 User preferencesUnconditional
12811.8.1 Content technologyWhere web content is an authoring tool
12911.8.2 Accessible content creationWhere web content is an authoring tool
13011.8.3 Preservation of accessibility information in transformationsWhere web content is an authoring tool
13111.8.4 Repair assistanceWhere web content is an authoring tool
13211.8.5 TemplatesWhere web content is an authoring tool
13312.1.1 Accessibility and compatibility featuresUnconditional
13412.1.2 Accessible documentationUnconditional
13512.2.2 Information on accessibility and compatibility featuresUnconditional
13612.2.3 Effective communicationUnconditional
13712.2.4 Accessible documentationUnconditional

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Requirements in EN 301 549 but not relevant to the WAD

Below are listed the requirements of EN 301 549 that are not listed in Table A.1 (covering websites) or Table A.2 (covering mobile applications) of Annex A in EN 301 549 v3.2.1.  They are therefore a part of the standard, but are not a part of the presumption of conformity to the WAD. 

Requirements not relevant because the WAD does not apply to hardware:

  • 5.1 Closed functionality
  • 6.5.2 Resolution item b)
  • 6.5.3 Frame rate item b)
  • 6.6 Alternatives to video-based services
  • 8 Hardware (in its entirety)

Requirements not relevant because the WAD does not apply to live time-based media:

  • 9.1.2.4 Captions (live)
  • 10.1.2.4 Captions (live)
  • 11.1.2.4 Captions (live)

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Summary of all requirements in EN 301 549 that apply to the WAD

The acronym POUR stands for Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust. These are considered the 4 main principles of digital accessibility requirements. The third column in the table below indicates which of these principles each clause is aiming to satisfy. The last column indicates whether a clause is based on WCAG. It provides a link to the clause’s definition, either in WCAG or in EN 301 549 if the clause is not in WCAG.

No.Clause in v3.2.1 of the standardPOURConditionWCAG level
15.2 Activation of accessibility featuresPOURWhere web content has documented accessibility featuresNot WCAG
25.3 Biometrics-O--Where web content uses biological characteristicsNot WCAG
35.4 Preservation of accessibility information during conversionP-URWhere web content converts information or communicationNot WCAG
46.1 Audio bandwidth for speechP---Where web pages provide two-way voice communicationNot WCAG
56.2.1.1 RTT communicationPO--Where web pages provide two-way voice communicationNot WCAG
66.2.1.2 Concurrent voice and textPO--Where web pages provide a means for two-way voice communication and for users to communicate by RTTNot WCAG
76.2.2.1 Visually distinguishable displayP---Where web pages have RTT send and receive capabilitiesNot WCAG
86.2.2.2 Programmatically determinable send and receive directionP---Where web pages have RTT send and receive capabilitiesNot WCAG
96.2.2.3 Speaker identificationP---Where web pages have RTT capabilities, and provide speaker identification for voiceNot WCAG
106.2.2.4 Visual indicator of Audio with RTTP---Where web pages provide two-way voice communication, and have RTT capabilitiesNot WCAG
116.2.3 Interoperability item a)P---Where web pages with RTT functionality interoperate with other ICT with RTT functionality (as required by clause 6.2.1.1)Not WCAG
126.2.3 Interoperability item b)P---Where web pages with RTT functionality interoperate with other ICT with RTT functionality (as required by clause 6.2.1.1)Not WCAG
136.2.3 Interoperability item c)P---Where web pages with RTT functionality interoperate with other ICT with RTT functionality (as required by clause 6.2.1.1)Not WCAG
146.2.3 Interoperability item d)P---Where web pages with RTT functionality interoperate with other ICT with RTT functionality (as required by clause 6.2.1.1)Not WCAG
156.2.4 RTT responsivenessP---Where web pages utilise RTT inputNot WCAG
166.3 Caller IDPOURWhere web pages provide provides caller identification or similar telecommunications functionsNot WCAG
176.4 Alternatives to voice-based servicesPOU-Where web pages provide real-time voice-based communication and also provide voice mail, auto-attendant, or interactive voice response facilitiesNot WCAG
186.5.2 Resolution item a)P-U-Where web pages that provide two-way voice communication includes real-time video functionalityNot WCAG
196.5.3 Frame rate item a)P-U-Where web pages that provide two-way voice communication includes real-time video functionalityNot WCAG
206.5.4 Synchronization between audio and videoP-U-Where web pages provide two-way voice communication include real-time video functionalityNot WCAG
216.5.5 Visual indicator of audio with videoP-U-Where web pages provide two-way voice communication, and include real-time video functionalityNot WCAG
226.5.6 Speaker identification with video (sign language) communicationP-U-Where web pages provide speaker identification for voice usersNot WCAG
237.1.1 Captioning playbackP-U-Where web content displays video with synchronized audioNot WCAG
247.1.2 Captioning synchronizationP---Where web content displays captionsNot WCAG
257.1.3 Preservation of captioningP-U-Where web pages transmit, convert or record video with synchronized audioNot WCAG
267.1.4 Captions characteristicsP---Where web content displays captionsNot WCAG
277.1.5 Spoken subtitlesP-U-Where web content displays video with synchronized audioNot WCAG
287.2.1 Audio description playbackP-U-Where web content displays video with synchronized audioNot WCAG
297.2.2 Audio description synchronizationP---Where web content has a mechanism to play audio descriptionNot WCAG
307.2.3 Preservation of audio descriptionP-U-Where web pages transmit, convert, or record video with synchronized audioNot WCAG
317.3 User controls for captions and audio descriptionPO--Where web pages primarily display materials containing video with associated audio contentNot WCAG
329.1.1.1 Non-text contentP---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
339.1.2.1 Audio-only and video-only (pre-recorded)P---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
349.1.2.2 Captions (pre-recorded)P---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
359.1.2.3 Audio description or media alternative (pre-recorded)P---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
369.1.2.5 Audio description (pre-recorded)P---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
379.1.3.1 Info and relationshipsP---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
389.1.3.2 Meaningful sequenceP---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
399.1.3.3 Sensory characteristicsP---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
409.1.3.4 OrientationPO--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
419.1.3.5 Identify input purposePO--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
429.1.4.1 Use of colourP---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
439.1.4.2 Audio controlP---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
449.1.4.3 Contrast (minimum)P---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
459.1.4.4 Resize textP---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
469.1.4.5 Images of textP---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
479.1.4.10 ReflowP---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
489.1.4.11 Non-text contrastP---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
499.1.4.12 Text spacingP---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
509.1.4.13 Content on hover or focusP---Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
519.2.1.1 Keyboard-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
529.2.1.2 No keyboard trap-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
539.2.1.4 Character key shortcuts-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
549.2.2.1 Timing adjustable-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
559.2.2.2 Pause, stop, hide-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
569.2.3.1 Three flashes or below threshold-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
579.2.4.1 Bypass blocks-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
589.2.4.2 Page titled-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
599.2.4.3 Focus Order-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
609.2.4.4 Link purpose (in context)-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
619.2.4.5 Multiple ways-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
629.2.4.6 Headings and labels-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
639.2.4.7 Focus visible-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
649.2.5.1 Pointer gestures-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
659.2.5.2 Pointer cancellation-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
669.2.5.3 Label in name-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
679.2.5.4 Motion actuation-O--Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
689.3.1.1 Language of page--U-Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
699.3.1.2 Language of parts--U-Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
709.3.2.1 On focus--U-Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
719.3.2.2 On input--U-Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
729.3.2.3 Consistent navigation--U-Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
739.3.2.4 Consistent identification--U-Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
749.3.3.1 Error identification--U-Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
759.3.3.2 Labels or instructions--U-Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
769.3.3.3 Error suggestion--U-Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
779.3.3.4 Error prevention (legal, financial, data)--U-Where ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
789.4.1.1 Parsing---RWhere ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
799.4.1.2 Name, role, value---RWhere ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
809.4.1.3 Status messagesPOURWhere ICT is a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
819.6 WCAG conformance requirementsPOURWhere ICT is a web page???WCAG 2.1 Related
8210.1.1.1 Non-text contentP---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
8310.1.2.1 Audio-only and video-only (pre-recorded)P---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
8410.1.2.2 Captions (pre-recorded)P---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
8510.1.2.3 Audio description or media alternative (pre-recorded)P---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
8610.1.2.5 Audio description (pre-recorded)P---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
8710.1.3.1 Info and relationshipsP---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
8810.1.3.2 Meaningful sequenceP---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
8910.1.3.3 Sensory characteristicsP---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
9010.1.3.4 OrientationPO--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
9110.1.3.5 Identify input purposePO--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
9210.1.4.1 Use of colourP---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
9310.1.4.2 Audio controlP---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
9410.1.4.3 Contrast (minimum)P---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
9510.1.4.4 Resize textP---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
9610.1.4.5 Images of textP---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
9710.1.4.10 ReflowP---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
9810.1.4.11 Non-text contrastP---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
9910.1.4.12 Text spacingP---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
10010.1.4.13 Content on hover or focusP---Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
10110.2.1.1 Keyboard-O--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
10210.2.1.2 No keyboard trap-O--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
10310.2.1.4 Character key shortcuts-O--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
10410.2.2.1 Timing adjustable-O--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
10510.2.2.2 Pause, stop, hide-O--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
10610.2.3.1 Three flashes or below threshold-O--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
10710.2.4.2 Document titled-O--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
10810.2.4.3 Focus Order-O--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
10910.2.4.4 Link purpose (in context)-O--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
11010.2.4.6 Headings and labels-O--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
1110.2.4.7 Focus visible-O--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
11210.2.5.1 Pointer gestures-O--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
11310.2.5.2 Pointer cancellation-O--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
11410.2.5.3 Label in name-O--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
11510.2.5.4 Motion actuation-O--Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
11610.3.1.1 Language of document--U-Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
11710.3.1.2 Language of parts--U-Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
11810.3.2.1 On focus--U-Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
11910.3.2.2 On input--U-Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
12010.3.3.1 Error identification--U-Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
12110.3.3.2 Labels or instructions--U-Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
12210.3.3.3 Error suggestion--U-Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
12310.3.3.4 Error prevention (legal, financial, data)--U-Where the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
12410.4.1.1 Parsing---RWhere the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
12510.4.1.2 Name, role, value---RWhere the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 A
12610.4.1.3 Status messagesPOURWhere the documents and forms are downloadable from a web pageWCAG 2.1 AA
12711.7 User preferencesPOURUnconditionalNot WCAG
12811.8.1 Content technologyPOURWhere web content is an authoring toolNot WCAG
12911.8.2 Accessible content creationPOURWhere web content is an authoring toolNot WCAG
13011.8.3 Preservation of accessibility information in transformationsPOURWhere web content is an authoring toolNot WCAG
13111.8.4 Repair assistancePOURWhere web content is an authoring toolNot WCAG
13211.8.5 TemplatesPOURWhere web content is an authoring toolNot WCAG
13312.1.1 Accessibility and compatibility featuresPOURUnconditionalNot WCAG
13412.1.2 Accessible documentationPOURUnconditionalNot WCAG
13512.2.2 Information on accessibility and compatibility featuresPOURUnconditionalNot WCAG
13612.2.3 Effective communicationP-U-UnconditionalNot WCAG
13712.2.4 Accessible documentationPOURUnconditionalNot WCAG

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Related Content

Big Picture

Web Accessibility

Web accessibility allows everyone, including people with disabilities, to perceive, understand, navigate and interact with the Internet.

See Also