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Software Purchasing Guidance for Accessibility
We can provide guidance to help you review your upcoming software purchase.
Standards and Best Practices for Procurement
Visit the UCOP Electronic Accessibility Standards and Best Practices for Procurement page for more details. Handy links include guidelines, a WCAG checklist, supplier demo guide, prioritization guide, and more.
Choose the right vendor
Choosing the right accessibility partner can be the key to your success (and reduced legal risk). The right vendor should:
- Ensure you get the best-performing and most easily useable product
- Guarantee compliance with accessibility regulations
Choosing the wrong vendor can be costly, time-consuming, unproductive, and result in project delays. Here are activities and tips to secure the right vendor.
Understand and agree to the contract
Be sure to include the necessary UC approved clauses in your contracts. And, more importantly, personally make sure your vendor understands, agrees to and is able to fulfill them. You, your team and vendor all need to understand and agree to deliver the requirements defined in:
- About the University of California's Information Technology Accessibility Policy Links to official policy and FAQs.
- University of California Guidelines for Purchasing Accessible IT Products or Services (PDF)
- University of California Official UC Information Technology Accessibility Policy IMT-1300 (PDF)
- University of California Terms and Conditions of Purchase (PDF) See Article 6.D for accessibility requirements.
Suggested questions for the vendor
Some questions to consider asking in evaluating vendors’ accessibility background and experience
- How long has the firm been working in the area of accessibility?
- Does the firm have a standard, published process in place to validate accessibility?
- Does the proposed audit cover both technical and functional auditing requirements?
- Does the firm have experience meeting WCAG 2.0 guidelines? What about WCAG 2.1 guidelines?
- Has the firm had US government contractor/customers? Higher-education customers?
- Do the people who work on my project have direct professional experience with accessibility and WCAG?
- Does the firm provide specific, code-level guidance on addressing compliance issues?
- Will the person doing the accessibility work for UCSF be an employee of the firm or a sub-contractor?
- Does the firm have experience auditing applications for compliance across all development platforms (web, mobile)?
- Can the firm readily produce detailed examples of the audit reports that will be provided across such platforms?
Standards and technology
- Does the firm have experience across all accessibility standards targeted?
- How does the firm provide coverage for new accessibility standards or new versions of current standards?
- Does the firm recognize the limits of automatic testing and back it up with human testing?
- Does the firm test with users with disabilities?
VPATs and ACRs
Request a VPAT from your vendor. We can provide guidance for your VPAT review.
- ACR (Accessibility Conformance Report) is a completed VPAT
- VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) information for vendors from UCOP
- Web Accessibility Requirements for University of California RFPs from UCOP, questions and checklist to include in RFPs for web-based purchases. UCOP's condensed version of a VPAT with a column for the vendor explanations of compliance, plans and timelines for achieving compliance. (PDF)
Follow through on vendor delivery
Once everyone understands and agrees, follow through to ensure the vendor delivers a product that meets your accessibility requirements.
- Addressing issues early in the design process saves a lot of time.
- Product accessibility is not simply a box you check off nor is accessibility something that can be fixed or jerry-rigged at the end of the project without a lot of time and effort.
Accessibility compliance is not optional
UCSF is a “public accommodation” under the Americans with Disabilities Act and receives federal funds. Therefore we must follow federal guidelines that require web accessibility along with the University of California IT Accessibility Policy.
Higher Education Community Vendor Assessment Toolkit from Educause