5. Procurement and Accessibility Policy
Assume that a vendor’s proposal is accepted for review and competition and they are asked to provide a demonstration. It is at this point when you can move into more particular, perhaps technical, questions about specific accessibility features of their product.
Assessing a Vendor’s Website
It is often easy to get a sense of a vendor’s knowledge and commitment to accessibility by simply looking through their website.
- Sample a few pages and run them through an automated accessibility checker and HTML validator. How well do they do? The results will be a good indication of the quality and accessibility of work the company does.
- Does the vendor’s website have a prominent accessibility statement? Though not a requirement, if they do have one, it’s a good indication the company cares about accessibility.
- Does that statement, if there is one, have a compliance claim and are accessibility features on the site listed? If the accessibility features are listed, it likely means they are thinking about people with disabilities who are visiting their site, which is one step above thinking about accessibility in general.
- If there is a demo of the software you intend to procure, sample a few screens for checker and validator testing. How well do they do? You may be able to decide in this manner whether the software you are intending to procure from this company has the potential or not to meet the accessibility requirements of your organization.
- If an RFP is being issued, you may want to mention to vendors that their website may be reviewed for accessibility. Or, you may want to review websites prior to an RFP, to aid with shortlisting vendors to approach.