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Firas Masri, Sergio Luján-Mora. Web Accessibility Implementation in Spanish Public Administration. In Marek Milosz (Ed.), Varia Informatica 2011, p. 22-32, PIPS PIPS Polish Information Processing Society, Lublin (Poland). ISBN: 978-83-931710-6-4.
Nowadays the web is presented in all fields of our life, from information and service web pages to electronic public administrations (e-government). This makes that users are a heterogeneous and multicultural public, with different abilities and disabilities (Visual, hearing, cognitive & motor impairments).
These characteristics represent a huge challenge if we hope to provide access to all possible users, specially if the intention is to fulfill web accessibility guidelines WCAG 1.0 y WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) [ACG08] of the WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative).
Web accessibility aims at enabling all users to have equal access to information and functionalities on the web. More specifically, Web accessibility means that people with all disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web.
To assure web accessibility, several studies have suggested numerous evaluation methods [BRA06], [VIG07] as a mean to verify, measure and certify the fulfillment of accessibility guidelines and therefore to supply full accessibility to disabled people ensuring that laws are being upheld. Many of these evaluation methods were implemented, thus creating a number of automatic tools to simplify the evaluation process and by that way providing a technical infrastructure for all software developers to guarantee minimal access.
Despite these technical facilities and the fulfillment of laws and moral obligations towards disabled persons, unfortunately many public administrations and people representations still doesn’t apply the minimal accessibility condition for their websites.
In many cases they are the ones whom established these laws as we will see next in this paper analyzing the Spanish Senate website.
The Senate of Spain is the upper chamber of the Parliament and a constitutional body. Since 2002, several decrees and laws provide that the website of the Public Administrations must be accessible, thus ensuring universal access and applying the no discrimination statements of European Union. For example, the Royal Decrees 1494/2007 [BOE07a] & 56/2007 [BOE07b] states that the Internet sites of public administrations must meet at least AA level of WCAG 1.0. However, as we will see next in the analysis of the Senate’s website, the page is full of errors that prevent the information to be accessible. Therefore, the Senate breaks the same laws they create. Or as the Spanish proverb say, "Do as I say, not as I do".