Per the University's Policy 851, when contracting with vendors or third parties for information communication technologies (ICTs) accessibility requirements must be addressed. Rice requires that vendors meet current W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

The questions below should be integrated into the general review process, request for proposal (RFP), or request for information (RFI) to ask vendors about the accessibility maturity of their processes and products. How the vendor answers questions about product design, testing, training, and support will help you determine whether the product will meet the needs of your users.

You should also review and test a product for accessibility before purchasing. The Digital Information Accessibility Coordinator is available to help plan, review, or test products as part of these processes.

Design questions

  • When do you think about the accessibility of your product? At the design stage, during the implementation process, or later on after it has been developed?
  • Do you have accessibility experts in your design/development team, or do you hire an outside accessibility consultant?
    • If the latter, what accessibility consulting company do you work with?
  • Do you use real end-users with disabilities to help design your product? How so?

Testing questions

  • How do you test for accessibility? Do you have accessibility testers in-house, for example, at the quality assurance department, or do you hire an outside accessibility consultant?
    • If the latter, what consulting company?
  • Do you use real end-users with disabilities to test your product?
    • How many and from what disability groups?
  • When do you perform accessibility testing? During the development phase or before the product is about to be released?
  • What is the accessibility criteria/matrix for testing your product? May we have a copy of the document?
  • Will you share the last accessibility report on your product with us?

Vendor internal education and training questions

  • Where do your designers and developers get accessibility training?
  • Which accessibility-related conferences do you attend?
  • Have you ever had an employee or an outside person with disabilities show how your product might be used with assistive software/hardware?

Documentation questions

  • Do you have accessibility documentation about your product?
  • Are the supported accessibility features in your product listed and explained?
  • Are the documents publicly accessible? May I have the URL to them?
    • What format are they in?

Support questions

  • Does your support staff get training on accessibility?
  • Is there an accessibility expert whom other support staff may contact for more advanced issues?
  • How exactly may accessibility feedback and problems be reported, where they will gain traction?
    • How are these directed to the right people?
  • Do you provide training to our staff to handle accessibility issues locally?

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