Before a big purchase, the wise shopper gathers requirements, performs research, and conducts a review of potential solutions. At the University, your digital technology pre-purchase checklist must include an evaluation of the extent to which a product is accessible and how a vendor meets accessibility standards.
Importance of Your Role
Disability isn't about them; it's about us. Anyone can experience a disability, temporarily or permanently. Inaccessible technology excludes a significant population of potential users from participating in a digitally-dependent world.
University of Minnesota purchasers must ensure that the technologies procured for the University are accessible to people with disabilities to the greatest extent possible, according to our shared value of inclusion as specified by University policy and obligated by accessibility laws.
Seek Information and Documentation
Technology vendors often assert that their products are accessible. However, manufacturers, vendors, and service providers sometimes make inaccurate or incomplete claims about the accessibility of their products or services. But if you ask the right questions, you can make better decisions and ensure that technology products purchased for the University meet accessibility standards.
Contact the Technology Advisory Council
The Technology Advisory Council can help you make technology decisions with confidence. The group is made up of friendly, knowledgeable technology experts from across the University system who are practiced with the University's technology policies, standards, and guiding principles—ncluding accessibility. Their knowledge and experience is at your disposal, free of charge. If you are exploring the use, purchase, or development of a technology, and feel like you could benefit from guidance on accessibility or other technology concerns, request a consultation.
Review the Accessibility Purchasing Playbook
If you prefer to learn about the digital accessibility purchasing on your own, the Digital Accessibility Stakeholders group at the University of Minnesota has developed a thorough playbook for navigating purchases with accessibility at the forefront. The playbook includes:
- Guidelines for establishing priority during the purchasing process
- Questions to ask the vendor
- Functional accessibility requirements
- An Equally-Effective Alternate Access Plan (EEAAP) Template: An EEAAP is a comprehensive plan documenting what the purchaser will do when a product that meets accessibility standards is unavailable