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					Review of Government Agency
   Surveys and Interviews

        Terry Weaver
     Joy Gatewood-Fulton



                              1
         The Accessibility Forum:
               Interviews


Interviews with Federal Agencies
regarding the Procurement Challenges of
Section 508: acquiring accessible
Electronic and Information Technology.




                                          2
         Section 508 - Interviews with
       Government Procurement (1 of 2)
• Nine agencies interviewed: from Depts. of
  HHS, Commerce, Treasury, and Defense.
• Purpose: to gather best practices in
  procuring accessible E&IT and to
  determine if agencies need further
  guidance in implementing Section 508.




                                              3
           Section 508 - Interviews with
         Government Procurement (2 of 2)
• Interviews were Confidential, with data
  presented in an aggregate form only.
• Range
  – Section 508 applicability to a purchase
  – VPAT’s
  – What 508 information do they require from vendors
  – Comments
  – Other




                                                        4
          Implementing Section 508 -
                Question One
How do you determine whether or not
Section 508 applies to a particular
procurement?

– 44% Section 508 applies to all E&IT procurements
– 56% We have tools and policies to advise of appropriate
  determinations and when it is not applicable




                                                        5
          Implementing Section 508 -
                Question Two
How do you document the results of your
determination (whether or not Section 508
was applicable)?
– 22% - No formal documentation process
– 33% - An in-house tool leads users to the appropriate
  form or checklist that is used to document the
  determination and decision, including any exemption
– 56% - Other
   Other includes: Reports, Templates, Procurement
    Requests, VPAT’s ,or other vendor supplied information

                                                             6
           Implementing Section 508 -
                Question Three
How do you determine which parts of the
508 standard apply to a purchase?
– 44% - The requiring official determines which applies
– 56% - Other:
   • Guidance from the organization's Section 508 committee
   • Often it's a matter of interpretation and is ultimately the
     Contracting Officer's call
   • The standard is applied equally across the board
   • The in-house tool guides the user. Weighted standards are
     even possible (one provision can be more heavily weighted
     than another can)
   • We rely on the vendor to provide us that information

                                                                   7
           Implementing Section 508 -
                Question Four
What process or procedure do you follow
to determine whether or not vendor
products, deliverables, and services meet
the requirements of Section 508?

– 33% - Vendors are required to self certify that products
  meet Section 508
– 22% - Market research which may include VPAT's
– 44% - A combination of both



                                                             8
          Implementing Section 508 -
                Question Five
What Information do you require of
Offerors / Vendors?


– 33% - Self-Certification Language
– 33% - VPAT/template
– 22% - Vendor must complete our template
– 11% - Vendor must offer information about how their
  products meet Section 508 standards somewhere on
  their website, in brochures or handouts, in a standard
  template or VPAT format

                                                           9
          Implementing Section 508 -
                Question Six
How often do you use the Voluntary
Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) in
your assessment of a vendor’s products,
deliverables, and services?


– 44% - Never
– 22% - Always
– 33% - Sometimes, when available



                                           10
          Implementing Section 508 -
               Question Six-A
Is the VPAT the primary source of
information?

– 44% - N/A - never use
– 44% - Yes
– 11% - No




                                       11
          Implementing Section 508 -
               Question Seven
What other sources of information do you
use?

– 44% - Market research
– 33% - N/A
– 11% - We also may test the product
– 11% - Our own template




                                       12
          Implementing Section 508 -
               Question Eight
If the VPAT is used, we would like to
follow up with some questions on how
well it is working for you.
What do you like about it?

– 44% - N/A
– 33% - Everything - easy to read and all the information
  is on one page
– 22% - Nothing


                                                        13
         Implementing Section 508 -
           Question Nine (1 of 2)
What do you dislike about it? (VPAT)

– 44% - N/A
– 22% - Nothing
– 56% - Other




                                       14
          Implementing Section 508 -
            Question Nine (2 of 2)
Comments included:
  – Too complex
  – Ambiguous
  – Vendor simply states "meets" to every criteria - we
    ask the vendor to customize a VPAT that states how
    their product or service meets the criteria
  – Language is too technical for most requiring officials
  – People get confused and don't know what parts apply
  – Vendors often complete the VPAT’s incorrectly




                                                          15
         Implementing Section 508 -
               Question Ten
The next few questions deal with your
opinion of the quality of information
provided by the VPAT.
Have you had to go back to the vendor
with questions about the information
provided?
– 33% - Yes
– 22% - No
– 44% - N/A


                                        16
         Implementing Section 508 -
              Question Eleven
How many times? (Did you have to go
back to the vendor regarding the VPAT)

– 11% - Don’t Know
– 22% - Many
– 67% - N/A




                                         17
           Implementing Section 508 -
                Question Twelve
The next few questions deal with your
opinion of the quality of information
provided by the VPAT.
How difficult was the VPAT to use? (On a
scale 1 to 5 where 1 is not difficult at all
and 5 is extremely difficult)
– 33% - Not Difficult
– 11% - Difficult
– 56% - N/A


                                               18
         Implementing Section 508 -
             Question Thirteen
The next few questions deal with your
opinion of the quality of information
provided by the VPAT.
Did the VPAT save you time?

– 33% - Yes
– 11% - Not
– 56% - N/A



                                        19
          Implementing Section 508 -
              Question Fourteen
How much confidence do you have in the
accuracy of the information provided by
the VPAT? (On a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is
little or no confidence and 5 is full
confidence)
– 56% - N/A
– 22% - Full Confidence
– 11% - Fairly Confident
– 11% - No opinion



                                        20
         Implementing Section 508 -
              Question Fifteen
Do you perform any technical evaluations
of the products, deliverables, and services
themselves to determine 508 compliance?

– 56% - No
– 44% - Yes




                                         21
         Implementing Section 508 -
              Question Sixteen
After a product is delivered, are its 508
compliance claims verified?

– 78% - No
– 11% - Yes
– 11% - Don’t Know




                                            22
         Implementing Section 508 -
            Question Seventeen
Does your agency conduct 508 training?

– 100% - Yes




                                         23
          Implementing Section 508 -
              Question Eighteen
To who is the training provided (who is the
principal audience)?

 – 56% - All employees
 – 11% - Contract Force
 – 11% - Program Officers
 – 11% - ROs, COs, COTRs, Legal Staff
 – 11% - ROs, COs, COTRs




                                         24
           Implementing Section 508 -
            Question Nineteen (1 of 2)
Do you think there is any area where
additional training is required?
 – 44% - No
 – 56% - Yes

Comments:
 – Yes, eventually we would like to spread out to the
   program offices.
 – Yes, more should be done for general employees since
   anyone can be an RO at any time. May explore doing
   this as part of the new employee orientation.


                                                        25
          Implementing Section 508 -
           Question Nineteen (2 of 2)
More Comments
– Make this training ongoing and part of a regular
  awareness programs.
– Many RO’s need training tailored to the products they
  are responsible to buy for the agency. The current
  training tends to handle the subject too broadly without
  enough hands-on examples. Small and disadvantaged
  businesses as well as value added and reseller vendors
  don’t understand 508.
– Future surveys will help us determine this.




                                                        26
          Implementing Section 508 -
               Question Twenty
What could raise your level of confidence
in what you’re buying meets 508
requirements?
  Another way to ask this question might be “What
  information or other resources are lacking or
  would be helpful to you in determining whether or
  not an offeror can meet the requirements of
  Section 508?”
  44% - Some sort of logo, icon or other labeling program
  to confirm that the product is compliant would help.
  Like the UL laboratories icon on electrical products. If
  the products were certified as Section 508 compliant by
  an impartial 3rd party testing lab.

                                                        27
             Implementing Section 508 -
               Question Twenty-one
Do you have any examples of particularly good
vendor responses regarding 508 requirements?
(Could you provide us with a copy of anything that
  have been or can be sanitized and would represent
  good examples)?
– 33% - No
– 22% - Dell
– 11% - We have an database of customized VPAT’s, but they
  were proprietary to each purchase
– 11% - Oracle
– 11% - Acrobat and Dell have good VPATs
– 11% - Ricoh, Canon, and Sharp
                                                             28
              Implementing Section 508 -
                Question Twenty-two
Have you made any purchases where the award
decision has hinged on 508 requirements?
 If yes, what kinds of products and services were
    purchased?
 – 78% - No
 – 22% - Don’t Know
 – 11% - Yes
   We recently needed to buy thousands of printers and one
   vendor said that they could not provide printers that were
   compliant. We approached another vendor who provided
   printers that are compliant. We have had similar experiences
   with copying machines.

                                                              29
            Implementing Section 508 -
              Question Twenty-three
What is your biggest challenge in doing a 508
compliant purchase? (What would make your job
easier in dealing with Section 508)?

 – 22% - Lack of dedicated resources (money and staff) to do
   justice to the 508 requirements
 – 22% - Simply having a bigger pool of 508 compliant products
 – 22% - What would be really helpful would be a seal of
   approval from an agency or independent body as to how well
   a product or service met Section 508 requirements. The
   example of the Green Star Energy logo used by EPA comes to
   mind.


                                                               30
         Agencies Best Practices Pages
                    (1 of 2)
• DOE:
  http://www.eren.doe.gov/websitestandards/508.html#B

• NOAA:
  http://www.nws.noaa.gov/sec508/

• ARNET/FAR:
  http://www.arnet.gov/far/far_faqframe.html




                                                        31
         Agencies Best Practices Pages
                    (2 of 2)
• GSA - the definitive guide and “buy
  accessible” portal
  http://www.section508.gov

• Usability.gov
  The recent recipient of a Hammer award
  http://www.usability.gov




                                           32
           The Accessibility Forum:
                 Interviews
• Interviews with Federal Agencies
  regarding the Procurement Challenges of
  Section 508: acquiring accessible
  Electronic and Information Technology
• Interviews conducted over August -
  September 2002
• Interviews conducted by Forum staff and
  GSA Staff


                                            33

				
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