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Access

Accessible Procurement at Clemson

Important Information

This page only covers the evaluation and acquisition of digital tools and services.

To ensure compliance with the accessibility laws, policies, and standards that Clemson adheres to (as well as other privacy, security, and similar requirements), all digital tools and services being purchased or otherwise acquired for use by a group of individuals should undergo an IT Vendor Management Process (ITVMP) Assessment.

Getting Started: Request ITVMP Assessment

To begin the assessment process, go to the ITVMP page, click the ITVMP Assessment button, and complete the form. As this form is very technical, we strongly recommend that you reach out to IThelp for assistance with completing the form.

Once the form is submitted, the assessment generally takes a minimum of two weeks to complete. During those weeks, various specialists on campus will work with the vendor to ensure that the tool or service meets all requirements. To reduce the amount of time it takes to complete the accessibility portion of the evaluation, you can work with the vendor to have the following prepared:

  1. Accessibility Conformance Report (sometimes referred to as a VPAT) or equivalent.
  2. A plan for conducting a demonstration, should the accessibility specialist(s) request a demonstration.

1. Accessibility Conformance Report (completed VPAT)

The first item that the accessibility specialist will ask for is a copy of the product's latest Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR) or—as it is perhaps better known—a completed Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). This report gives the product grades for how well it conforms to each individual accessibility criteria. The grades given are "Supported," "Supported with exceptions," "Not supported," and "Not applicable." Clemson will want the product or service to have mostly "Supported" grades with, perhaps a few "Not applicable" grades. A few "Supported with exceptions" may be allowed, but it depends on the exceptions.

An ACR will not guarantee a product's accessibility, but it can give great insight into how seriously the company takes accessibility. If the ACR was not constructed from a 2.0 or later VPAT or was based on an evaluation conducted more than two and a half to three years ago, it could mean that the company cared about accessibility at one time but has not kept up with it recently. If the ACR does not provide results for multiple operating systems (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, etc.) when the product is available on multiple operating systems or if the ACR says that the report is based on the use of only a single screen reader program, that may suggest that the company does not have a strong or large accessibility team yet. Finally, if the ACR evaluation was completed by a reputable third party or the final draft of the vendor-made ACR was reviewed by a reputable third party, then it is more likely that the report is a truer depiction of the product's conformance level.

2. Vendor Demonstration

As digital products update frequently the accuracy of the ACR's portrayal of the product's accessibility will vary. If the accessibility specialist is not satisfied with the ACR or if the product being acquired will be used by a considerably large group, the specialist may request a vendor demonstration. 

In general, you want the vendor to be prepared to produce the following:

  • A live presentation.
    • Avoid recordings as much as possible because video editing can make a product seem more accessible than it is.
    • In many cases a remote presentation through Zoom or a similar platform will be allowed.
  • Exploration of the locations and processes you generally expect your users to interact with.
    • As demonstrations usually have a time limit, you should prepare the vendor by describing the processes that students, faculty, and/or staff will be expected to complete in or with the product so that the high-traffic areas are included in the demonstration.
    • In the list of processes they should demonstrate, be sure to include accessing the support documentation.
  • Use of assistive technology (i.e. screen reader, dictation software, switch control, eye tracking, etc.).
    • If particular students and/or colleagues in your department use assistive technology and will be expected to use this product, be sure that the vendor is prepared to demonstrated the compatibility with that assistive technology.
    • Be sure that the vendor also demonstrates the product's compatibility with one or more of the three most common screen readers (JAWS, NVDA, VoiceOver).

After the ITVMP Assessment

Once the assessment is complete, the results will be communicated via email. 

If the product is approved, CCIT may be able to provide assistance in getting the product installed.