The mission of the UNIVERSAL ACCESSIBILITY AND INNOVATION DEPARTMENT is to promote Design for Everyone and thus achieve universal accessibility as an essential condition for equal opportunities for people with disabilities.
The strategic lines of this area are:
- the ONCE Foundation's LEADERSHIP in accessibility through strategies and projects.
- the generation, incorporation and dissemination of KNOWLEDGE, the key to advancing in new ways to improve the accessibility of environments, products, goods and services.
- and the SUSTAINABILITY of the projects over time, both financially and in terms of results and human resources.
These strategic lines included in the three basic pillars of activity are:
- Alliances, Networks and Platforms: development of strategies and projects aimed at the creation of public-private collaborative networks that promote accessibility in environments, products and services with a 360º vision.
- Training, Studies and Publications: generation of knowledge through training in any of its modalities and the study and approach of technical issues related to accessibility in environments, products and services.
- Research and Innovation: search for new ways, fields and solutions in terms of accessibility in environments, products and services.
- Dissemination: development of projects to disseminate accessibility to the maximum in order to reach the greatest number of people and standardise its application in the design of environments, products and services.
These strategic lines are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals set out in the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
The Directorate divides its management structure into three Departments:
Physical Accessibility Department
Traditionally, when talking about accessibility, only building, urban planning and means of transport were taken into account. Today we are aware that accessibility must be a feature of all environments, products and services, including so-called virtual ones. Naturally, although the importance of the latter is growing day by day, due to the incorporation of communication technologies in all areas, tangible environments, products and services (the so-called physical services) are essential.
This area deals with a wide range of actions, activities and projects in which the constructed environment plays a major role, including observatories in different fields, advice to public and private entities, technical training, participation in Technical Standardisation Committees, etc.
Our mission is to work to ensure that criteria and standards are established, known and applied when designing, constructing, adapting and maintaining the environment, its facilities, products and services so that they achieve, maintain or improve their levels of accessibility.
Culture and Leisure Department
Access to culture and leisure for people with disabilities may at first sight seem unimportant, but we must reject this idea. It is a right of all people.
Throughout its history, the ONCE Foundation has aimed to achieve the full inclusion of people with disabilities and is aware that areas such as culture cannot be forgotten in order to achieve total normalisation in the lives of the people who make up this group.
In addition to developing its own projects, this department supports the implementation of cultural and leisure initiatives by other entities when their purpose is to benefit people with disabilities.
Accessible Technology and the R&D Department
That technology should be accessible and usable for all, that it should also be a tool at the service of people with disabilities, that ICTs and other emerging technologies can contribute to people's independence by supporting them in their daily life, leisure and working life, making them more independent, is the main set of objectives on which the activity of this Department pivots.
Dissemination of good practices in ICT accessibility, training in universal design in technology, collaboration in the creation of standards and norms for greater accessibility of the technological environment are just some examples of the activities aimed at achieving our objectives.
Through the Department of Accessible Technology and R&D, the ONCE Foundation is at the forefront of research and innovation, participating in initiatives such as the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme, Horizon 2020, etc.
The ONCE Foundation has set up different specific platforms for the dissemination of its activity in the field of Universal Accessibility, in addition to its own communication channels, with the following initiatives standing out:
Accessibilitas is a digital platform promoted by the ONCE Foundation and the Royal Board on Disability with the aim of promoting the generation and dissemination of knowledge on universal accessibility.
The platform concentrates information of interest in the field of physical, technological and communication accessibility: technical and legal regulations, guides and manuals, news, calls for conferences and courses, multimedia material and much more.
The content of Accessibilitas are particularly aimed at all those whose professional practices may influence the accessibility of spaces, products and services. In essence, it is open to any person and institution interested in contributing to universal design.
It also has a private area aimed, in its first phase, at public administrations, universities and non-profit organisations operating in Spain. It provides access to UNE technical standards on accessibility, specialised forums attended by experts and allows the dissemination of events related to universal accessibility and design for all people.
The Innova Accesibilidad Newsletter uses new technologies to provide information on innovation and accessibility in a simple format, including both Spanish and English versions, with news and an agenda of events in which the ONCE Foundation participates.
If you are interested in receiving the Innova Accesibilidad Newsletter click on the following link:
Social research studies on universal accessibility
Observatory of universal accessibility in the municipalities of Spain (2020)
This study analyses the degree of universal accessibility currently present in public roads and municipal buildings, with the main objective of providing a clear vision of the situation while at the same time showing the most relevant issues on which it is considered necessary to focus attention.
The publication of this Observatory of Universal Accessibility in the Municipalities of Spain expands and updates the previous diagnoses carried out by ONCE Foundation in 2011 and 2017 regarding universal accessibility in urbanised public spaces and buildings.
Smart Index in Spanish Provincial Capitals (2019)
This is a study led by the consultancy firm IDENCITY in collaboration with different companies and entities in which the ONCE Foundation has actively participated in order to evaluate accessibility issues in the Smart developments of the 52 Spanish provincial capitals. The Smart Index was presented at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona in November 2019.
ICT Accessibility Observatory studies
The Accessibility Observatory was launched in 2004 with the aim of generating and disseminating information on ICT accessibility levels in specific sectors through cross-sectoral comparisons and considering evolutions over time.
Some of these are featured below:
- Accessibility and social innovation in healthcare. ICT as an enabler for efficient use of healthcare (2020)
- Accessibility of Virtual Assistants (2020)
- Map of Easy-to-Read Indicators: Situation in Spain
- Web and mobile cognitive accessibility standards (2019)
- The insurance sector and people with disabilities and their families: sizing, barrier analysis and identification of opportunities (2018)
Research and social innovation projects developed under european commission programmes
Among the social research and R&D projects carried out by the ONCE Foundation, those carried out in collaboration with the European Commission within the different programmes that have been set up over the years are of special note. The most recently launched and some still under development are highlighted below:
The EDUCA4ALL project, part of the European Programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport ERASMUS+, led by ONCE Foundation and with a duration of 35 months, consists of the evaluation and improvement of the training curriculum on accessibility in Architecture and Civil Engineering degrees taught in three international universities and one Spanish university. (University College of London, Brunel University of London, Universitá di Bologna and Universidad Francisco de Vitoria). It is scheduled for completion during 2020.
ONCE Foundation participates in a POCTEP cross-border cooperation project for the creation of the Iberian Centre against Forest Fires (CILIFO). Within the framework of this project in 2019, a state of the art study has been carried out on emergency management in the forest environment and care for people with disabilities, as well as an online survey to define the technical-functional requirements to be taken into account in the development of a mobile application aimed at minimising the risk of the population, especially those with disabilities, in the event of a fire.
In addition, the ONCE Foundation has prepared the content for the development of social awareness days aimed at promoting attention to diversity in the forest environment and has participated in all the coordination activities of the project, contributing to making the documentation prepared accessible. The project will be completed in December 2021.
ONCE Foundation participates in the European SAFERUP project, which aims to provide innovative solutions that will shape the paved urban environment of the future. Paths, cycle paths, roads, intersections, squares and all other walkable surfaces that we all use every day will be designed, built and managed according to context-sensitive criteria, including not only safety, mobility and costs (construction and maintenance), but also sustainability, environmental impacts, accessibility, aesthetics, circular economy and preservation of the local economy.
The project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2021.
ONCE Foundation participated as a partner in this project of the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commissiondeveloped by a consortium that brought together twenty-four partners from thirteen countries, ranging from end-user groups and research institutes to international technology developers and manufacturers. PROSPERITY4ALL focused on designing the infrastructure needed to foster the assistive products sector and the creation of new accessible technologies, improving the connection between developer and user and fostering the creation of new methods for their commercialisation. A web platform was developed on which a person with a disability can consult what type of device they need for a specific activity and quickly obtain the answer by displaying the products or services that meet their needs. The user can be in permanent contact with the developer of the technology in order to ask questions about its operation and make suggestions for improvement.
The project was completed in 2018.
Support for innovation in the field of universal accessibility
Innovation in the field of universal accessibility has always been one of the objectives of the ONCE Foundation, with a view to seeking the most technologically advanced solutions to implement in order to improve the living conditions of people with disabilities. The digital era in which we find ourselves and the multiple processes of automation of procedures has made it one of the fundamental lines of action of this Foundation in order to be at the forefront of this type of innovative solutions, working hand in hand with professionals and experts in different fields whose focus is innovation.
Proof of this is the multitude of projects launched by the ONCE Foundation, the most recent of which include the following:
On 4 December 2019, the ONCE Foundation inaugurated the EspacIA Innovation Room, an open space dedicated to innovation and accessibility with the aim of further promoting design for all people and turning technology into an opportunity to achieve the full inclusion of people with disabilities. This room will host workshops and co-creation workshops for accessibility experts from the organisation and professionals from other companies interested in advancing in the design of products and services that take into account the needs of all people. In addition, it will also offer training courses aimed at improving the technological skills of people with disabilities, as well as training professionals in accessibility.
The PACA robot is an ONCE Foundation project, developed by ILUNION Technology and Accessibility, whose Spanish acronym stands for Personal and Accessible Cognitive Assistant, which aims to exploit the potential of robots for use in various environments to improve the user experience at events or in their daily lives, as well as to improve the accessibility of public spaces and homes.
This robot has the ability to interact with people through voice, text and images and provides information in an accessible way for deaf, blind, visually impaired, intellectually disabled and elderly people.
PACA also uses artificial intelligence to help people with disabilities in various scenarios, whether they are on a trip, at work or in hospital.
PLUS Accessible Medication is a free app for iOS and Android developed by the General Council of Pharmacists, ONCE Foundation and Fundación Vodafone España. It is a solution aimed at any type of patient or citizen who needs information about medicines, but it is especially designed for people with visual impairment, people with handling difficulties, or elderly people for whom everyday actions, such as reading a medicine leaflet, can be a challenge.
The application, which allows information on medicines to be consulted by capturing the barcode or entering the name in a search engine, offers utilities such as a locator of the pharmacies closest to the user and a section called 'My medicines', which stores information on those medicines that the user uses most frequently and to which he/she wants to have quick access.
Free download at:
Thanks to the Accessible French Way of Saint James project promoted by the ONCE Foundation, the oldest pilgrimage route in Europe will also be accessible for people with disabilities.
It consists of a mobile application through 3D guidance and with accessible and easy to understand information that is especially oriented to people with visual or cognitive disabilities. In addition, the app will allow pilgrims to access alerts, notifications or information related to accessibility linked to the section of the route in which they are located, as well as obtaining the digital credential, by stamping through vumark codes.
The project has the support of four ministries - Culture and Sport; Public Works; Industry, Trade and Tourism; and Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare - and the collaboration of five autonomous communities through which the French Way of St James passes: Aragon, Navarre, La Rioja, Castile and Leon and Galicia. Microsoft Iberia, the Asociación Municipios del Camino de Santiago and the Asociación Amigos del Camino de Santiago are also participants.
Amuse is an innovative guidance system, based on the 'beepcon' smart beacon technology, which makes it easier for people with disabilities to access information about the contents of museums.
Through 'Amuse', wherever this system is installed the user can choose between two visit modes: Guided or free. In each of them, you will have access to information about the works on display, as well as explanatory videos and audios with subtitles, sign language and audio description.
Free download at:
The Amóvil portal is an initiative led by ONCE Foundation that aims to help people with disabilities and the elderly to identify accessible mobile devices that meet their needs and preferences. It is an interactive website that also provides information on support products compatible with the different terminals and mobile applications that meet the requirements of universal accessibility and design for all. It also publishes news and information on ICT accessibility and promotes the active participation of both users and accessibility experts, as well as manufacturers and companies related to mobile technology.
Promoting accessibility in the world of video games
As part of the search for equal opportunities and with the aim of strengthening the soft skills of people with disabilities, since 2018 ONCE Foundation has promoted accessibility in the world of video games, carrying out user tests with different disability profiles to check the accessibility, usability and interaction of certain support products that can facilitate the use of consoles or video games.
To formalise the measures that are being implemented, an agreement has been signed with the Spanish Video Game Association to support the industry in all the actions that are being implemented. We are also supporting accessible and accessibility-themed training within the sector, such as with the Malaga School of Digital Art and Video Games (EVAD), and finally, we intend to carry out dissemination and awareness-raising actions at events and places of reference.
Spanish Technological Platform of Technologies for Health, Active and Independent Living eVIA
eVIA is one of the four technology platforms that form part of AMETIC (Association of Electronics, Information Technology, Telecommunications and Digital Content Companies). The aim of the eVIA platform, created in December 2007, is to use ICTs to promote people-centred innovation as a means of integrating groups at risk of exclusion. Since its creation, eVIA has contributed to increasing the effectiveness of R&D&I activity in the technology and disability sector. Currently, eVIA is an open forum that brings together some 489 organisations of a very diverse nature: industries, user associations, service providers, NGOs, public administrations and social innovation spaces, and more than 600 experts from the sector. The ONCE Foundation holds the Presidency of eVIA and AMETIC holds the Technical Secretariat.
Support for entrepreneurship in the field of universal accessibility
Supporting entrepreneurs who design solutions that improve accessibility and the living conditions of people with disabilities has become one of the priorities for the ONCE Foundation's Universal Accessibility and Innovation Department.
The "ONCE Foundation, Emprende e Innova" strategy was developed jointly with the Training, Employment, Operations and Transformation Department and the Social Innovation and European Programmes Departments. As part of the strategy, the Universal Accessibility and Innovation Directorate is planning the following actions in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers:
- Preparation of a report studying the disability dimension within the entrepreneurial ecosystem
- Creation of a face-to-face and/or virtual networking network that will become a reference point for disability and entrepreneurship issues at national level
- Launch of an acceleration service for projects at different stages of maturity (projects with different stages of prototyping and companies with different stages of turnover)
Participation of the ONCE Foundation in entrepreneurship events
The ONCE Foundation has been present at events in the field of entrepreneurship: SouthSummit, StartUpOlé and Ship2B ImpactForum. These are events with a large number of visitors from the entrepreneurial sector, which together have received more than 27,000 visits and which receive the support of the main public and private entities in the country.
Training and consultancy
The generation of knowledge through the training of professionals and raising awareness among people have been key objectives of the ONCE Foundation since its origins.
Face-to-face and virtual training actions are planned with great impact and participation, trying to reach all corners and activities (during 2019, more than 8,300 people were trained), so that professionals assimilate the concepts of accessibility and design for all people as another design issue and that, little by little, we achieve environments, products and services for everyone.
At the same time as this training work, the Universal Accessibility and Innovation Directorate carries out important consultancy work for public and private entities.
Online Master in Accessibility for Smart City "The Global City"
This master's degree programme has been offered since 2011 with the collaboration of the University of Jaén with the aim of training future professionals who work in the creation of the environment, products and services, both physical and "virtual", as a necessary step on the road to achieving full accessibility. Training in Universal Accessibility and Design for All is given to profiles as varied as architects, computer engineers, industrial engineers, graduates in economics, graduates in social work, among others.
ONCE Foundation Channel at UNED: MOOC courses on accessibility
The ONCE Foundation and the UNED have joined forces to produce open, free, quality and accessible educational resources for all. Each student can also obtain recognition or accreditation for the merits achieved.
The ONCE Foundation Channel in UNED Abierta offers training in the knowledge and skills needed to design products, environments, systems and services from a universal design perspective:
- recognising and addressing the challenges faced by people with different limitations
- learning how to work with innovative design to meet these needs
- integrating universal and specific accessibility solutions using appropriate technology
Conference: "DESIGNING CITIES AND TOWNSHIPS FOR ALL PEOPLE" (ONCE Foundation / Fundación ACS)
Phase VII of the training project "Designing cities and towns for all people", an initiative aimed at professionals working in the built environment, was carried out in 2019.
This training action has been carried out for the last 7 years by the ACS Foundation ACS Foundation under successive collaboration agreements signed during this time, demonstrating the involvement of both entities in achieving accessibility within the framework of our cities and towns.
Every year, different conferences are held throughout the country to try to reach all municipal technicians and other professionals working in municipal corporations, but also those who work in the liberal professions.
VOLVO Foundation Initiative (VOLVO / ONCE)
The Volvo Initiative is an innovative educational project that contributes to the promotion of safety, respect for the environment and universal accessibility among children.
In the 7 editions held so far, more than 22,600 students from 200 schools in the Community of Madrid and Catalonia have participated, with excellent acceptance among students and teachers.
International Congress on Technology and Tourism for Diversity
It has been organised since 2015 to find out how technology, smart destinations and products or services improve the lives of all citizens.
An important part of the congress is the exchange of papers, thanks to which the international community can learn first-hand about the advances that are taking place in the different areas of knowledge being addressed.
A wide range of topics, subjects and projects of all kinds, both in the field of technology and tourism, are proposed to promote the integration and inclusion of people with disabilities.
The 2019 edition was held in Malaga from 23 to 25 October and was organised in collaboration with Malaga City Council, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) and the Royal Board on Disability, and was renamed the International Congress on Technology and Tourism for Diversity, with the aim of encompassing the entire population likely to benefit from the improvements, proposals or good practices arising from the holding of this congress.
The aim of the ONCE Foundation's Discapnet Awards for Accessible Technologies is to recognise the best initiatives and actions in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) applied to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities, as well as companies, entities or organisations that have carried out continuous work in the field of ICT accessibility.
ONCE Foundation Contemporary Art Biennial
The Biennial of Contemporary Art is an ambitious project whose main objective is to recognise and disseminate the work of artists with disabilities or those who find their inspiration in disability. For this reason, the ONCE Foundation started this project in Madrid in 2006. And its mission is to achieve the two fundamental objectives of the ONCE Foundation, the employment of professional artists with disabilities and accessibility, in this case to culture. The Biennial is structured around an exhibition of visual arts, around which a series of parallel activities are developed, including both performing arts cycles (film, theatre, dance and music) and artistic training workshops, in any of its disciplines.
"U-Turn" is an art gallery located at Calle Sebastián Herrera, 15, Madrid. It is an initiative that began in 2009 and whose main objective is to promote and encourage the employment of artists with disabilities, offering a space where they can make their work known and make art their way of life. In addition to temporary exhibitions, other cultural activities also take place.
The world flows. Two views of the same reality
The travelling exhibition "The World Flows. Two views of the same reality" brings together a selection of works from the editions of the ONCE Foundation Contemporary Art Biennial held to date, which form part of our collection. The aim of this exhibition is once again to disseminate the work of artists with disabilities among those who are professionally related to the art world or who have not had the opportunity to visit the Biennial of Contemporary Art. It contributes to the professionalisation of these artists, as well as facilitating access to culture for people with disabilities, as these exhibitions are accessible, and raises awareness of disability in society as a whole.
Every year, the ONCE Foundation launches various publications on accessibility in different areas, which are available in the ONCE Foundation's virtual library, in accessibility collections (https://biblioteca.fundaciononce.es/publicaciones/colecciones-propias/coleccion-accesibilidad)