Purchasing Technology

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.

Vendor Requirements

We require vendors to provide accessibility documentation, which may become part of the final legal agreement. For additional assistance, contact itcompliance@missouri.edu

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.

Purchaser Considerations

Anyone responsible for making decisions about acquiring technology solutions at MU must consider accessibility. When determining what technology solution best meets your needs, it’s essential to include accessibility during your search, which can help expedite the compliance process.

Vendor Questions

Ask the company about the accessibility of their ICT product and let them know it’s a priority. Here is a list of 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, a completed Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)?
    • Accessibility Conformance Reports (or completed VPATs) 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?

If the vendor cannot provide information on the accessibility of their product, look for comparable products. If no product is fully accessible, then an exception can be granted by IT Compliance.

IT Compliance

The Division of IT has an IT Compliance process to evaluate technology, including accessibility compliance. To learn more, visit IT Compliance Guidelines.

The Adaptive Computing Technology Center performs automated or manual accessibility testing, which can confirm a level of accessibility or compliance with IT procurements. Submit the Accessibility Review Request form thru the Cherwell online help platform to request an accessibility review on your website, web application, or mobile app.

Accessibility Contract Language

An accessibility clause is included for IT contracts. Contact Heather Reed at 573-882-9778 with the UM System Procurement Technology Solutions team for questions about accessibility contract language.

Resources