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Web Accessibility Observatory

The Accessibility Observatory is an initiative of the Ministry of Territorial Policy 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 based in the 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.

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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). In July 2015 was approved the fisrt methodology based on this estandard. In April 2018 the  current methodology (Opens in new window) (version 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.

In July 2015 was adopted the first methodology using the standard UNE 139803:2012 (WCAG 2.0) (available abstract in English), by the Websites working group of the general administration of the state and has been endorsed by the working group of the "Observatorio, Indicadores y Medidas" of the "Comité Sectorial de Administración Electrónica" (regional and local governments).

The current methodology (Opens in new window) based on the standard UNE 139803:2012 too (available abstract in English (Opens in new window) ), was adopted by the "Accesibilidad de las TIC de la Administración General del Estado" working group and has been endorsed by the working group of the "Observatorio, Indicadores y Medidas" of the "Comisión Sectorial de Administración Electrónica" in April 2018.

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

Study results

In each wave of the observatory these studies are generated:

  • Agregated report . In order to obtain a general 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 websites analyzed. 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) ".

After the publication of the Royal Decree 1112/2018 on accessibility of websites and applications for mobile devices in the public sector (Opens in new window) , the technical note " Accessibility of websites and mobile applications of the public sector " has been published. In this document, in addition to describing the context and challenges faced by all the actors involved, the results of the last iteration of the periodic studies of the Web Accessibility Observatory conducted at the end of 2018 are shown, offering a global picture of the situation at that moment.

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 . The OAW Tracker 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.

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