When purchasing new software, a nice fresh website or a practical app, it is important to take digital accessibility into account right from the start. Why? Because you want everyone to be able to make good use of it, right?
A good start is half the battle
At the start of your project you draw up a Program of Requirements (PoR). In the PoR you specify all functions and conditions that must be met by the supplier upon delivery.
Digital accessibility is a standard requirement for (semi-) government bodies. Fortunately, accessibility is becoming more important outside this scope and more and more companies include accessibility as a requirement (or nice-to-have) for new websites. You assess your established criteria at various times. During procurement, development and upon completion of the project.
When it comes to digital accessibility, it sometimes remains a silent requirement in your PoR. But if you don't talk about it thoroughly with your future supplier, how are you going to be sure that what you'll get delivered will meet your expectations?
Asking the right questions
It's important to ask the right questions in advance, during the selection of your supplier! The answer to those questions will give you a lot of insight into the expertise of the supplier in the field of digital accessibility.
The list below is by no means comprehensive and will be regularly updated based on new insights and feedback.
- Is the supplier familiar with the applicable accessibility standards and any applicable laws and regulations?
- Can the supplier demonstrate that the deliverables meet or will meet the requirements for digital accessibility?
- Are examples available of previously completed projects that have been proven to meet the requirements?
- Have any claims been substantiated by reports and are these available?
- Have these claims been audited according to the widely used WCAG-EM standard (or similar and if so, which)?
- Was the audit conducted internally or by an independent third party?
- Is a recent audit report available?
- If a previous audit has been done, what were the findings, and what is the current status of solutions for these?
- If not present during procurement, will the project be delivered including a valid (independent) audit report?
- Have the deliverables been tested by different target audience groups including people with disabilities? If so, what were the findings, and how were they handled?
- Have the deliverables been audited with assistive technology? If so, which and what were the findings?
Knowledge and insight
- How does the supplier secure knowledge about digital accessibility in his organization?
- Do employees receive relevant (for their function) training on the theme of digital accessibility?
- When was the last time such training took place?
- Based on the PoR, does the supplier see any challenges in terms of digital accessibility when undertaking the project?
- How does the supplier intend to solve these challenges?
- What steps will the supplier take if they cannot deliver a digitally accessible deliverable?
- What steps does the supplier take in the different phases of the project (including design and technical realization) to guarantee digital accessibility?
- At what moments in the project is digital accessibility tested?
- How are these tests performed and by whom?
- Is the necessary knowledge available to properly solve identified accessibility problems?
- How will the supplier handle accessibility problems reported to them?
- How can the supplier help ensure that the system remains accessible even after delivery?
- Are updates and new functions provided with reports or only delivered after research?
- Does the system help or ensure that content is accessible by users?
- Is there documentation available about how accessible content can be made with the system?
- What types of content are not supported for accessibility and why?
Need help with procurement?
Working on a procurement process and need someone to ask for these points and more from your potential suppliers? I am happy to help you make a good start with digital accessibility