Purchase Accessible IT

We are committed to ensuring everyone’s access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The university developed a Digital Accessibility of Communications and Information Technology policy and a procedure for evaluating the accessibility of ICT in addition to the UM System’s Information Technology and Telecommunications Purchases. Purchased ICT should adhere to the state and federal accessibility laws and standards. For more information, visit Laws, Policies, and Standards.

Purchaser Considerations

All decision-makers involved in acquiring technology solutions at MU must prioritize accessibility. When evaluating technology solutions to meet your needs, it’s crucial to factor in accessibility, which can streamline the compliance process.

Vendor Questions

Reach out to the company to discuss the accessibility of their ICT product, highlighting its significance. Here are some baseline questions to ask vendors:

  • Can you demonstrate how to use your product without a mouse?
  • Who assesses your products for accessibility? (Internal, third-party, etc.)
  • Have any people with disabilities tested your product?
  • Does it comply with Section 508 (e.g., Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 level AA or higher)?
  • Can you provide a product Accessibility Conformance Report, which is a completed Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)?
    • Accessibility Conformance Reports are completed VPATs that help buyers of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) understand a product’s level of accessibility compliance, compare compliance with similar products, and make informed decisions before purchasing a product. 
  • Do you have a designated accessibility representative to address issues or questions about accessibility issues?
  • How does your company integrate accessibility into the design and development of your products?
  • Do you have a resolution process for accessibility issues?
  • How often are your products assessed for accessibility compliance?
  • Do you have an Accessibility Roadmap for your products that do not meet compliance?

The baseline questions provided serve as a launching pad for initiating discussions with vendors, enabling you to collect vital details about their products’ accessibility features and adherence to compliance standards. If you require assistance with this process, contact the MU Adaptive Computing Technology Center at 573-884-2828.

Vendor Requirements

IT Compliance

The Division of IT employs IT Compliance Guidelines to assess technology, including accessibility compliance. Suppliers, vendors, and contractors must provide accessible ICT in accordance with established accessibility standards. They may be requested to furnish the following accessibility documentation, which could subsequently be incorporated into the final legal agreement.

Voluntary Product Accessibility Template® (VPAT)

A VPAT is a document outlining the compliance of information and communication technology products, including software, hardware, electronic content, and support documentation, with the Revised 508 Standards for IT accessibility. A completed VPAT is called an Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR). Someone familiar with digital accessibility within your company, such as an accessibility specialist or a reputable third-party accessibility auditor, should fill out the VPAT. Download the VPAT 2.5 Rev 508 from the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) website. The General Services Administration site provides instructions on creating an Accessibility Conformance Report, and ITI offers VPAT Training Modules on its website. An accessibility statement does not replace our requirement for an ACR (or completed VPAT). 

Accessibility Roadmap

A product accessibility roadmap outlines a vendor’s plan for addressing issues according to the accessibility guidelines and standards. Vendors should describe how and when their product will be fully accessible or their plans for addressing accessibility in future releases. This illustrates a vendor’s commitment to improving the product’s accessibility. If you do not have a roadmap, use the accessibility roadmap template (Microsoft Word document format). Completing a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) will help you identify accessibility issues with your product and complete an accessibility roadmap.