Amidst the many questions that accompany the procurement of a new technology, the question of accessibility is frequently overlooked. University collegiate, business, and administrative units are responsible for addressing accessibility issues with their technology, even when that technology is obtained from a third-party. When procuring a new software or other technology, you should consider these three key aspects of accessibility: Will users with disabilities be able to use the product:
- Equally effectively?
- Does the technology afford all users the opportunity to achieve the same outcomes?
- In an equally timely manner?
- Is the technology available and usable by all users on-demand or in the same general timeframe?
- With substantially equivalent ease of use?
- Is the technology constructed such that the tasks and processes can be performed independently by all users in a variety of ways, with a similar number of steps?
When procuring third-party products, you should:
- identify the vendor's contact person for accessibility issues;
- obtain a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) and/or an Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR) from the vendor;
- perform testing if necessary, to determine the nature and extent of any accessibility barriers;
- complete an Equally Effective Alternate Access Plan if necessary, to document how the unit will address accessibility barriers exposed by testing or in the vendor's documentation.
The IT Accessibility Group is available to consult with anyone on campus who has questions about providing accessible technology to University users. The IT Accessibility Group can also provide targeted training, interpretation of accessibility technical standards, and clarification of policy and legal issues. Contact the UI IT Accessibility Group.