Using Accessibility Information to Make Decisions
The best way to observe accessibility in the process of reviewing products is to include in the reviewing group at least one person who is familiar with accessibility issues of the product being purchased. However, people who are knowledgeable of accessibility are often not available, so people will need to rely on their own resources and knowledge to consider accessibility when making purchasing decisions. The following are steps that can be taken in the review process.
Considerations Before Requesting Products
- Talk to people with disabilities who will be working with the product to identify their accessibility concerns. Include these concerns as part of the process to ask vendors on how their product addresses the accessibility concerns.
- Include people with information technology accessibility expertise as part of the process to identify any specific features the vendor should address in their product descriptions.
- Include people with disabilities as part of the review team.
Note: People with a specific disability will understand their own disability capabilities and limitations, but may not understand the capabilities and limitations of people with other kinds of disabilities.
- If no existing product contains necessary accessibility features, the requestor must describe in detail their plans for providing alternative access in an equally effective manner to the product should the need arise.
Steps in Reviewing Products
- Determine how big of a factor accessibility should be in the overall proposal ranking. It should typically be at least 20-25% of the overall score for a review.
- Review the vendor-supplied accessibility claims of the products and rank the reviews based on the number of desired and required accessibility features they claim the products support.
- When possible, verify accessibility claims by asking vendors to demonstrate accessibility features as part of product demonstrations.
- When available, verify accessibility claims by using automated tools. If the tools identify features that do not match with the vendor’s claim, ask the vendor to clarify their accessibility claim.
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