Accessible Software Services or Product Purchasing
Specific language for inclusion in an RFP or RFQ
When issuing an RFP for software or software development through a vendor, use the
following language in the RFP, to ensure that the software solution is accessible:
The AGENCY considers universal accessibility to information a priority for all its employees
and external customers, including individuals with disabilities. Under Sections 508 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. sections 794 and 794d, as amended), the AGENCY
elects to ensure the accessibility of its programs and activities, specifically its obligation to
acquire and use accessible electronic and information technology.
The contractor shall comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the World
Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and the State of
Washington’s Division of Information Services Web Accessibility Guidelines.
Condition of payment – The contractor agrees that compliance with the provisions of this
clause upon delivery of its product as a condition of payment under this contract.
In addition the product should include the following:
a) Product support documentation provided to end-users shall be made available in
alternate formats upon request, at no additional charge
b) End-users shall have access to a description of the accessibility and compatibility
features of products in alternate formats or alternate methods upon request, at no additional
In addition to required printed hard copy, all printed and/or multimedia deliverables shall be
delivered in an electronic format compatible with the Assistive Technology. Multimedia
deliverables shall meet the federal accessibility requirements.
Considerations in selecting off-the-shelf software
When purchasing a COTS solution, consider one of the following options (presented in
Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)
o Electronic and Information Technology vendors may elect to fill-
out the “Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)”
created for evaluating Section 508 compliance by the Information
Technology Industry Council (ITI). Responses specifically
address each requirement and greatly improve the ability to assess
a product’s compliance. Examples:
Panasonic - http://panasonic.com/accessibility/vpats.html
Center for Technology and Disabilities Studies - University of
o If no VPATs are available, then the next resource is to contact
Debbie Cook at the Center for Technology and Disabilities
Studies. The Center has information on many of the products
available and can often provide input as to which ones are
accessible and what accessible criteria they meet.
Review evaluation copy
o If there is not matrix and the Center for Technology and
Disabilities Studies is not able to verify the products accessibility,
then the final step would be to request an evaluation copy of the
software and actually test it for accessibility.