Inclusive procurement practices
When companies search for new digital solutions, too many don’t consider usability for all of their employees, especially usability for people with disabilities. 61 million Americans have a disability – that’s one in four people! Accessibility standards exist, but don’t work unless CTOs and procurement teams follow inclusive procurement practices.
When experiences are designed to include everyone, the benefits extend far beyond improved usability for the disability community, because digital accessibility improves usability for all.
How to procure accessible products
Ask vendors these questions to increase the likelihood of procuring an accessible product:
What accessibility standard does your product conform with?
By asking an organization which accessibility standards they conform with, you’ll be able to understand if they’ve considered the needs of people with disabilities or not. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are widely accepted as the standards to follow for making digital content accessible to people with disabilities. WCAG standards evolve and you can keep up to date with the latest standards from World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Can I see your Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)?
By asking for a VPAT or Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR), you’ll receive documentation stating where the product meets conformance and where there are accessibility barriers. You can evaluate the barriers based on their impact on key user goals. When you’re reviewing the VPAT, make sure to ask how and when the barriers identified are going to be improved.
If your vendors need information on VPATs, send them to our resource, “Everything you need to know about VPATs,” so they can get up to speed to meet your requirements.
Accessibility for RFPs
A request for proposal (RFP) is a procurement document that describes a project or purchase request. When you’re drafting your RFP, you need to be specific about accessibility. Simply stating the product needs to be accessible is not enough. Get specific and name a required level of conformance like WCAG 2.1 AA.
Get procurement help
If your procurement team needs help, we provide training to guide organizations as they make important decisions about products and services, including digital applications for employees and customers. Get in touch with a Perkins Access expert today.
And if you’re a vendor, we can help you obtain a VPAT!