Working with Vendors

Working with Vendors

Whether you are working with a vendor on a new or an existing product, you need to ensure that you have done your due diligence to find an accessible solution.  

The language below appears on new and renewal contracts and highlights what needs to be done.

Language in Purchasing Contracts

The language below appears in both the Service Provider Contract for Graphic Design, Videography, Web Design (as item #13) and Information Technology Professional Services Agreement (as item #34).

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, all web pages, web functionality, websites or web applications developed or provided under this Agreement will attempt to conform to the W3C Web Content Accessibility 2.0 Level AA Guidelines that can be found at Vendors hosting websites or providing web design services or web-based products, if required, can provide written evidence that their product or service addresses each of the WCAG 2.0, Level AA criteria. For any area of noncompliance, the Vendor should describe any planned remediation roadmaps, including timelines and steps that will be taken to achieve full compliance, as well as interim workarounds to enable access by individuals with disabilities. Vendors may be required to demonstrate how to use the product with assistive technology, and may be required to undergo third-party accessibility testing. The vendor must provide contact information to facilitate more detailed inquiries.


Even with the language in the contract, you still need to follow through to ensure that vendor products are accessible. As a starting point, ask the vendor for their VPAT—Voluntary Product Accessibility Template—to review. See what a vendor says about their product first.  Don't waste time testing things they acknowledge aren't compliant.  However, you will want to test things they claim are compliant. 

Here is a sample VPAT from CBORD (scroll down to see their catalog of VPATs for their products).

A vendor may not be fully compliant but may be working towards compliance. Ask them for their road map for how they plan to get there.

Footer Message

All web pages, web applications, etc. must have the approved footer. There are two options noted, one a short link to a page with the wording noted and the other, a complete message.   

Exception Process

Decisions on exceptions will be made by Legal and ITGC.  There is a WA Exception Request Form template to fill out when submitting an exception request.

From Brandon Brylinksi, the EITA Coodinator: “Essentially it comes down to whether a unit has done its due diligence in finding an accessible solution. If that’s not feasible because of a lack of accessible products in that space and/or due to “financial and administrative burden” then the next step is to submit the form and have it reviewed.

The other key component (as outlined in the form) is being able to demonstrate that the responsible unit/s will be prepared with alternate accommodations in a timely fashion for functionality of a solution that is not totally accessible should a request come in. 

...there are a myriad of scenarios & solutions out there so ultimately Legal and ITGC will handle these on a case-by-case basis.  The preference is to always have units implement solutions that are accessible from the beginning, but policy builds in the wiggle room for when that’s not completely feasible.”