Accessibility & Contracts / Procurement

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Glenda the Goodwitch

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What is IT?

What is Accessibility?

508 defines EIT: Electronic & Information Technology as

Information technology and any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment, that is used in the creation, conversion, or duplication of data or information.

Examples of EIT: Electronic & Information Technology

Source: Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards (Section 508) 1194.4 Definitions

what is accessibility?

When all users - regardless of disability - can obtain the same information and perform the same functions.

Procurement Plan for Buying Accessible EIT

Initial Setup

Ongoing Tasks

Accessibility SME Subject Matter Expert

Ideally has

Recommended job duties

Objectives of Accessibility Laws

Equal opportunity


"For most people technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible." President's Council on Disabilities

Procurement Relevant Accessibility Laws Federal & State

Accessibility Laws: Federal

United States Federal Laws

Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act (Federal)

"No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States …shall be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance">

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (Federal)

National mandate to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities

Section 508 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act (1998) (Federal)

Applies accessibility standards to procurement and development of electronic and information technologies by federal government agencies

International Guideline

Web Content Accessibility Guideline 2.0 (WCAG) of 2008 (W3C)

The US Federal 508 standard is being rewritten/refreshed and will be released in about a year. It is expected that the refershed 508 standard will actually be based on the WCAG 2.0 international standard.

Accessibility Law: State

At least 21 states have explicit statutes or executive orders

Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, W. Virginia

At least 6 states have Accessibility Policies

Accessibility Law: State of Texas

Texas Administrative Code

Chapter 206: State & Higher Ed Web Sites

TAC 206 B: State Agency Web Sites
206.50: Accessibility & Usability ("copy" of 508)

TAC 206 C: Higher Education Web Sites

206.70: Accessibility & Usability ("copy" of 508)

Chapter 213: Electronic & Information Resources
TAC 213 B: Accessibility Standards for State Agencies
TAC 213 C: Accessibility Standards for Higher Education

Texas Government Code

2054:456 Access to Electronic & Information Resources by State Employees w Disabilities

2054:457 Access to Electronic & Information Resources by Other Individuals w Disabilities

Target: Accessibility Settlement

Federal judge sustains discrimination claims against Target; precedent establishes that retailers must make their websites accessible to the blind under the ADA

Target Agrees to $6 Million Settlement over Accessiblity of

Accessibility Laws, Policies & Guidelines

It can be overwhelming to consider all the laws and rules for accessibility. We have Organization Policies & Guidelines, State Laws and Federal Laws. But remember, all of these laws and guidelines are about creating access for real people. Stay focused on the peopel and their needs, and realize that the laws and guidelines exist to help us reach equal opportunity and access.

Accessible IT Procurement Goals

Insure equally effective access to EIT

Equally effective means:

The Reality: Validate Vendor's Output/ KPI (Key Performance Indicators)

Accessible IT Requirements in RFPs

Insert language into "all" EIT RFPs stating:

Rare 508 Exceptions for RFP

Accessibility & Legacy Systems in Statements of Work (SOW)

Accessibility for all EIT including

  • New
  • Legacy
  • Purchased
  • Developed
  • CSU Sample RFP Language

    "Any acquisition considered electronic and information technology (E&IT) as defined by Section 508 (36 CFR Part 1194) requires the submission of a completed Voluntary Accessibility Product Template in order for the CSU to ascertain conformance with the applicable E&IT standards developed by the U.S. Access Board."

    CSU Sample RFP Language

    "The CSU reserves the right to perform real-world testing of a vendor's product or service in order to validate vendor claims regarding Section 508 conformance. In order to facilitate this testing, the vendor shall, upon request, provide to the CSU a copy of the product being considered for purchase for a period of at least 30 calendar days. The version of the product that is provided for testing purposes must be equivalent in functionality and features to the commercial version that is under consideration for purchase. The CSU in its sole discretion, will determine the level of compliance with Section 508 on all products being reviewed.

    Additional Suggestions for RFP

    The Importance of Testing

    image of 5 panel comic strip.

    If you don't test for accessibility, you should not be surprised when the product you buy is actually inaccessible."

    Practical Testing Plan

    1. Code Validation
    2. Browser Testing
    3. Online Accessibility Testing (representative pages). Use more than one tool, example: Worldspace & Wave.
    4. Screenreader Testing: JAWS
    5. Enterprise Accessibility Report (like Worldspace by Deque or WebXM )
    6. Hands-on Accessibility Testing

    RFP Survivor Game