We’re excited to celebrate USAGov en Español’s 20th anniversary this month. Since 2003, the site has been a trusted guide to government information and services for Spanish speakers. It continues to:
- Clarify how the U.S. government works
- Connect Spanish speakers with their government
- Streamline critical information about financial benefits, visas and travel, and much more
USAGov en Español isn’t just a translation of our English website, USA.gov. Instead, we use data to identify the needs of the Spanish-speaking community and shape our content especially for Spanish speakers. And we’ve used that content to engage with millions of people over the years not just through our trusted website, but also through the USAGov Contact Center, social media, and email outreach.
Caption: Total visits to USAGov en Español organized by fiscal year, showing spikes at key points over 20 years, including FY2004, FY2009, FY2014, FY2019, and FY2023.
Caption: Total follower and subscriber growth to USAGov en Español social media and email channels organized by fiscal year since FY2015. This includes email subscribers and followers on @USAGovEspanol Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube platforms.
Explore this timeline of USAGov en Español’s milestones, name changes, and accomplishments as we’ve served Spanish speakers and federal partners over the past two decades.
2003: FirstGov en Español launches. As the U.S. government’s official Spanish-language web portal, it addresses the needs of Spanish speakers in the U.S., as outlined in Executive Order 13166 "Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency" (August 11, 2000).
2004: Creates the Multilingual Community of Practice
- Wins the “Best Services for Specific Audiences” award from Web Managers University (now known as Digital.gov)
- Supports Hurricane Katrina response efforts, and becomes the official online channel for all federal emergency communications in Spanish
- Provides governmentwide guidance for Spanish language use
- Launches an email notification service to alert website visitors of new information on their topics of interest
- Builds a partnership with Univision.com to use FirstGov en Español’s content to inform the public about government programs and services
2007: FirstGov en Español’s name changes to GobiernoUSA.gov
2008: Among the first government programs to have a presence on social media (Facebook and Twitter accounts in Spanish)
2009: Implements a comprehensive social media strategy in Spanish
- Using Search.gov, GobiernoUSA.gov becomes the first government website to have multilingual search and localization. This allows users to search for content in their preferred language, and get relevant results and additional search tools in that same language.
- Among the first government websites to implement a mobile-first customer experience
- In partnership with FTC, HUD, and SSA, hosts live social media chats--some of the first for the government in Spanish
- Creates a blog for users to engage with the government in Spanish
- Re-launches with a responsive web design. This makes the site work on any size device so people can access it anytime, anywhere.
- Publishes an official directory of federal agencies, standardizing the way agencies’ names are translated into Spanish
- Implements the COPE model (Create Once, Publish Everywhere). This makes it easier for the website and the USAGov Contact Center’s phone and chat services to share the same up-to-date information with the public.
- In partnership with SBA, hosts one of the first Google Plus webinars on free courses for new entrepreneurs
2015: Surpasses 200,000 followers on @USAGovEspanol social media channels
- Releases a series of “Profesor Sabelotodo” (Professor Know-It-All) consumer education videos on YouTube
- In partnership with the Department of Education and Univision Contigo, hosts GobiernoUSA.gov’s first bilingual Facebook Q&A
- Continues to support FEMA as the official channel for all federal emergency online communications for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria; sends a team member to Puerto Rico to help build FEMA's digital capacity
- Among the first government programs to develop Facebook videos in Spanish to engage and share timely government information with the public
2018: Celebrates 15th anniversary and rebrands as USAGov en Español to align with the USAGov brand
2020: Supports HHS, the White House, and other agencies in the federal response to the COVID-19 public health emergency
- Together, USA.gov and USAGov en Español engage with people more than 72 million times to provide critical English and Spanish COVID-19 emergency information
- For the first time, the bilingual, cross-functional teams are completely virtual
2022: Launches beta website to the public to test the viability of a reimagined, restructured, more user-driven digital experience
- The newest version of USAGov en Español is launched. It’s created through Spanish-language user testing and follows accessibility and design best practices. It follows the U.S. Web Design System and other federal standards to deliver a great digital experience.
- Work continues to make the website more effective and accessible to the public, following Executive Order 14058 “Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government” (December 13, 2021)
- Relationship building continues with agencies with the goal of being able to identify opportunities for cross-agency service completion on the site and more personalized experiences for users.
Look for USAGov en Español to:
- Continue improving how we deliver information and services, with a special focus on benefits
- Establish more partnerships with agencies and increase collaboration across the government so Spanish speakers can have a more seamless government experience
- Deliver a digital-first experience with and for the Spanish-speaking public
We’re grateful for these 20 years of growth and for your support of USAGov en Español.
If you’re interested in hearing more about the impact of USAGov en Español over the years, listen to this week’s GSA Does That!? Podcast. The Public Experience Portfolio’s own Leilani Martínez, Laura Godfrey, and Maria Marrero sit down and talk about program origins, the shared and unique experiences of Spanish speakers in the U.S., and how we connect with real people and their needs.