[Athen] RE: institutional policy for purchasing technology

Gunderson, Jon R jongund at illinois.edu
Thu Apr 25 13:46:18 PDT 2013

The RFP language is an important first step for institutions in taking responsibility for accessibility of the resources they purchase.

>From my experience the practical aspects of RFPs that include accessibility language have had little impact on the accessibility of purchased products:

1. Vendors responding to the RFP are equally inaccessible, so accessibility does not become a purchasing factor (most common)

2. People making purchasing decisions have little knowledge of accessibility and therefore accept vendor claims without and validation

3. Nobody in the purchasing process has responsibility for verifying conformance with the accessibility requirements in the RFP

4. Testing for accessibility only happens after the purchase is finalized or are identified when an employee or student encounters a problem. Very little interest on changing vendors at that point and vendors usually has little interest in accessibility modifications since they already have the money.

5. Sales people have little knowledge of accessibility of their products and will make accessibility statements that might later provide to be false

6. Most companies software and web developers have little knowledge of accessibility and therefore usually ignore the issue during development, without feedback on accessibility and prioritization of accessibility issues many vendors will not get accessibility right.

While RFP language this is an important, more important is human resources trained in accessibility evaluation and design to be part of the purchasing process and to work with companies on implementing accessibility improvements, ideally in collaboration with other institutions.

We need more people who can work with vendors to help them understand accessibility and do evaluations of products to validate accessibility claims of vendors.


From: Sheryl Burgstahler <sherylb at uw.edu<mailto:sherylb at uw.edu>>
Reply-To: Access Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Date: Thursday, April 25, 2013 1:10 PM
To: Access Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: Re: [Athen] RE: institutional policy for purchasing technology

A huge challenge in all of this is to get accessibility included in the purchasing process, when in many categories there is NO product that is reasonably accessible. Anyone have some wording to get around that issue?
Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.
Director, UW Accessible Technology & DO-IT, UW-IT
Affiliate Professor, Education
University of Washington, Box 354842
Seattle, WA 98195
206-543-0622 FAX 206-221-4171
sherylb at uw.edu<mailto:sherylb at uw.edu>

On Apr 25, 2013, at 12:25 PM, Hunziker, Dawn A - (hunziker) wrote:

Please reply to the list – we’re in the process of working on this type of information as well and any information / resources would be appreciated!



Dawn Hunziker
Coordinator, Technology Access

Disability Resource Center
hunziker at email.arizona.edu<mailto:hunziker at email.arizona.edu>

From: athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu> [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Shadrick, Megan E
Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2013 12:19 PM
To: athen-list at mailman1.u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at mailman1.u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] institutional policy for purchasing technology

With there always being the “next big thing” in educational technology and learning platforms; I know I am not the only one struggling to make sure the products being purchased are accessible. Does anyone have a solid institutional policy or procedure for the purchasing of technology that they would be willing to share?
Thank you so much
Megan Shadrick M.A., M.S., COMS
Associate Director
Disability Resource Center-Access Technology Center
Missouri State University
meganshadrick at missouristate.edu<mailto:meganshadrick at missouristate.edu>

athen-list mailing list
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