Friday, 18 January 2008

Discapnet Observatory Recognises Achievement in Web Accessibilty in Spain

The "infoaccessibility" observatory managed by Discapnet (ONCE Foundation's disability web site) staged a public event yesterday at the city hall of Pamplona, Navarra.

Commemorative silver plaques were awarded to the web sites with the highest compliance and those that had done the most to improve since the previous edition of the report. The awards were presented by Vice President of the ONCE Foundation, Alberto Durán. Blanca Alcanda, managing director of Technosite was also present.

The event was also an opportunity to present the Observatory's newly-published inter-sector Web accessibility report. The previous eight reports had covered different sectors including Spanish universities, national government online services, regional government, city and town councils, travel agencies and transport, banks, and online newspapers. The latest study was carried out by Technosite evaluators and covered 19 websites and 93 pages (hardly big sample when you're giving out prizes). An interesting aspect is that the overall accessibility score has not improved since the last report, and that while some sites have improved significantly, this has been counterbalanced by a deterioration in others that previously had done well. In spite of recent legislation that mandates accessibility of government websites, seven of those that had deteriorated were government-owned.

Those awarded for their efforts were: Seguridad Social (Spanish national social security), Generalitat de Cataluña (Catalan regional government), Bankinter (a leading Spanish bank), Pamplona City Council. Of course it is rather ironic that two of these were only doing what they are obliged to do by law.

The worst performers were Ceuta city Council (the Spanish city enclave in north Africa), and the regional governments of the Basque Country, Murcia and Madrid.

Discapnet, is the leading Spanish-language disability web portal. It is jointly funded by ONCE Foundation, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF). It started its Infoaccessibility observatory in 2004. The observatory uses a methodology developed by Technosite that integrates W3C/WAI's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 and usability tests with people with disabilities. The latest report is available (in Spanish) and there is an English translation of the introduction (not by me). Previous reports are available from the Observatory section of Discapnet.

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