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Specialist Task Force 604:
Extension of User-centred terminology
for existing and upcoming ICT devices, services and applications

Who we are:


Team leader:
Team Members:

What we do

This Specialist Task Force (STF) is an EC/EFTA co-funded project that spans over a period ranging from March 2021 to June 2022. Its main aim is to develop a set of user-centred, accessible and harmonized terminology recommendations intended to improve the overall user experience and accessibility.
The work is covering commonly used, basic ICT features of current and upcoming ICT devices, services and applications, focusing on a mobile context. It proposes a user-centered, harmonized terminology of mobile ICT device (4 groups) and service and applications (12 groups) functions, focusing on communication in mobile contexts of use.
This STF can be seen as a follow-up of STF 540 which has established and published the first version of the ETSI Guide 203 499 ( version 1.1.1 ) in August 2019 applied to five languages: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
The main focus of STF 604 focus is in expanding the current list of available languages for the terms for the terms defined in the first version of EG 203 499. As a first task, the STF will decide on which additional languages will be added to the five ones already available: it is estimated that 14 additional languages may be added based on the number of their current native speakers in the EU.
The STF 604 work will result in a new version of ETSI EG 203 499.

STF 604 is inviting all interested stakeholders to support its important activity by joining a (stakeholder) consultation group which is meant, on the one hand, to review the draft versions of the new ETSI Guide and provide their comments in order for STF 604 to improve the documents and, on the other hand, to participate in a stakeholder workshop to collect further feedback.

This Workshop will be carried out in the form of a mixed meeting (on-line and at ETSI premises in Sophia-Antipolis) on November 29th,2021 from 14:00 to 16:00 CET. Registration to the meeting can be done here.

The information gained during the stakeholder workshop will be taken into account for the final version of the ETSI Guide.

The early draft of the new version of EG 203 499 is currently available here. It offers a first view of what the document will contain in its final form. Further iterations will be made available and advertised.

For more details, see our Terms of Reference.

Why we do it

Effective access to ICT will depend on the user being able to understand all of the features (such as the controls and capabilities) of the products and services that are and will be provided by ICT actors. In order to discover and understand these features, a user must first identify and recognize them. The names of these features are therefore a primary means by which a user can recognize and understand them.
If product and service features are poorly named, or if a familiar feature is named differently to the way that a user has previously encountered that feature, the user is likely to fail to recognize and understand it. If users fail to recognize and understand it, they are unlikely to be able to use it effectively. Learning to use ICT will always require a user to identify and then memorize the names of the various product features. This will always be a significant task for all users, but for older users and users with learning or intellectual disabilities this initial memorization task will be more challenging than for other users.
Having terms with clear and well understood meanings will aid this initial memorization task. However, if the terms for features are different from product to product, users will need to learn that multiple terms refer to the same underlying feature and will need to understand which name is used in which product (or in the worst case in different parts of the same product). This additional complexity will disproportionally disadvantage those older users and users with learning or intellectual disabilities who have impaired memory and comprehension abilities.
Terminology deals with terms and their use (a term is a name for an object). In most cases, the terms used for everyday objects have developed over the centuries and are taught to children as some of the words that make up their mother tongue. Problems arise when new objects (e.g. new ICT services or device functionalities) are given names that are not self-explanatory or immediately understood. The situation gets worse when different manufacturers or service providers use different terms for identical functionalities. This hampers the detection and uptake of those features and functionalities and hinders an easy migration of users between terminals and services of different providers.
Simple dictionary-based translation of the terms used for ICT functions from one language to another will not produce optimum results and will, in some cases, lead to the use of terms that are confusing or ridiculous (the user instructions of some products produced in East Asia are a legendary example of how such dictionary translations can produce incomprehensible and sometimes comical results).

How we do it

The STF is integrated within the Work Programme of the Human Factors Technical Committee (HF TC).
The working method of STF 604 has to main components:
  1. To identify and interact with localised domain experts, briefing them on the methodology used for the development of EG 203 499 and providing any assistance needed during the development of terminologies in their respective languages.
  2. To organise stakeholder meetings in order to ensure the support of relevant players such as device manufacturers, application providers, and users with disabilities.
Apart from the task related to the STF project management and reporting (Tasks 1 and 6), the STF works on the development of the main deliverable of the STF (i.e. a new version of the ETSI Guide EG 203 499) and on the dissemination of the STF results within the following tasks:
  • T2    Selection of languages covered and identification of language experts
  • T3    Development of tables of localised terms in the target languages & initial draft deliverable
  • T4    Consultation and Dissemination activities
  • T5    Validation Workshops and final draft of DEG/HF-203 499 (S + 11 to S + 16).


The following ETSI Guide (EG) is developed:

  • EG 203 499    Human Factors (HF); User-centred terminology for existing and upcoming ICT devices, services and applications

Papers and presentations

The STF has produce several papers to international conferences:

  • Theoretical And Applied Linguistics - TIAC 2021 (presentation)
  • Intelligent Systems Integration - IHSI 2022 (paper, presentation)
  • Human Interaction & Emerging Technologies: Artificial Intelligence & Future Applications - IHIET-AI 2022 (paper, presentation)

Time plan

The STF runs from March 2017 to January 2018. The following milestones have been agreed:

     Code               Task / Milestone / Deliverable                                                                                                             Target date                                       
    A  Early draft of DEG/HF-203 499 to be made available for TC HF
Progress Report to be approved by TC HF
30 June 2021  
    B Interim Report to the EC/EFTA to be made available and approved by TC HF and ETSI Secretariat  31 January 2022  
    C Progress Report to be approved by TC HF
Final draft of DEG/HF-203 499 to be approved by TC HF and submitted to ETSI member vote
31 March 2022  
    D Final report to the EC/EFTA to be made available and approved by TC HF and ETSI Secretariat
Publication of DEG/HF-203 499. STF closed.
30 June 2022  


How to contact us

To contact us, please send an email to the STF leader:

This information is based upon STF working assumptions.

The views expressed do not necessarily represent the position of ETSI in this context.