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Web Accessibility Observatory

The Accessibility Observatory is an initiative of the Ministry of Finance and Public Function that aims to help improve the accessibility level of the portals of the Spanish Public Administrations in all levels (General State Administration, Regional Governments and Local Governments)

As a part of this project the following services are provided:

  • Web Accessibility Observatory : Periodic study that provides evaluation results for the sites in order to have information from state and evolution of their Web Accessibility level.
  • Basic online service of Web Accessibility diagnostic . Service that provides to each government department the possibility to directly access automatic analysis according to the study of the observatory, both UNE 139803:2004 (WCAG 1.0) and UNE 139803:2012 (WCAG 2.0).
  • Reference documentation : about Web Accessibility to help developers in their work: regulations, best practices, specific documentation about how to create accessible content and its testing, FAQs about accessible web development, etc.
  • Web Accessibility Community : Meeting point for website managers of public administrations in which they can share information, their experience in web Accessibility and ask and answer questions. Allows access to basic online service of web accessibility diagnostic.

Add temporary

Initially, studies of the Web Accessibility Observatory were planned to take place during 2010 and early 2011. For each area, there would be several repetitions or waves of the analysis to show the evolution of the accessibility level in this period.

Given the degree of success and acceptance of the initiative and the good results obtained, the project was extended throughout the year 2011.

The online diacnostic service and the accesibility community were kept on working during 2012 and 2013. During these years, many new practical guides were prepared since the new standard UNE 139803:2012 (equivalent to WCAG 2.0) was approved.

Since 2014, we have worked to renew all the services to the new standard UNE 139803:2012 (equivalent to WCAG 2.0). Saskatoon 2015 was approved the fisrt methodology based on this standard. In April 2018 the new methodology (Opens in new window) (vesrion 2) was approved and all the services are available to public administrations.


The accessibility review of the Web Accessibility Observatory is performed by an automated methodology developed specifically for this observatory. This methodology took into account only 20 accessibility checks. Each one of them consisted of several automatic verification tests. In addition, this methodology used special metrics that include some checks that usually are manually reviewed.

Saskatoon 2015 was adopted the first methodology (Opens in new window) using the standard UNE 139803:2012 (WCAG 2.0) (available abstract in English (Opens in new window) ), by the Websites working group of the general administration of the state and has been endorsed by the working group of the "observatory, indicators and measures" of the "sectoral Committee EGovernment" (regional and local governments).

The current methodology (Opens in new window) based the standard UNE 139803:2012 too (not available in English yet), was adopted by the "accessibility of the TIC of the General administration of the state" working group and has been endorsed by the working group of the "observatory, indicators and measures" of the "sectoral Commission EGovernment" in April 2018.

NEW OAW methodology using the standard UNE 139803:2012. Version 2. April 2018

OAW methodology using the standard UNE 139803:2012. Version 1. July 2015

Study results

In each wave of the observatory these studies are generated:

  • Agregated report . In order to obtain a large result to allow a quick overview of the government websites accessibility level, we generate a report of aggregate results. These reports contain the overall results and the results obtained by the different groups of sites defined, offering different comparisons between them.
  • Individual reports . They are generated for each of the Lyrics websites. This kind of reports contains the detailed results obtained in each of the pages tested on the observatory. These reports are forwarded to the website responsible so they can use them to improve their website accessibility level.

A summary of the results achieved during 2010 and 2011 is available in the document:
E-Government Accessibility in Spain: The Result of Continuous Improvement Efforts

A very short overview of the situation in December 2016 is available in the document
" Directive on the accessibility of websites and mobile apps in the public sector (Opens in new window) ".

Accessibility Observatory Tracker tool

The Tracker OAW is the tool that allows the Government of Spain perform the different iterations of the Web Accessibility Observatory (OAW) and the usage of the online diagnosis service available from the Accessibility Community Tracker. The OAW allows the accessibility verification of a website and generates the automatic reports taking in consideration almost 100 check-points implemented in the platform, and also provide recommendations about how to solve the detected problems.

In November 2017 it was released with EUPL v2 license.