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.

Temporal scope

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 2015 the new methodology(Abre en nueva ventana) was appoved 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.

The methodology using the standard UNE 139803:2012 (WCAG 2.0)(Abre en nueva ventana) ,  (available abstract in English(Abre en nueva ventana) ) was adopted 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).

OAW methodology using the standard UNE 139803:2012

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(Abre en nueva ventana) ".