Buying accessible IT

In accordance with Federal and State laws and University policy, only electronic and information technology (EIT) that is equally accessible to individuals with or without a disability, unless it is technically not feasible to do so in which case an accessible alternative must be provided, may be purchased. This applies regards of the method used to make the purchase, i.e. procurement card, purchase order, request for bid (RFB), etc. All purchases should be evaluated for their accessibility. 

Who has responsibility for EIT Accessibility?

All members of the University community share responsibility for access.  If your role includes purchasing a product or recommending such a purchase you have a higher level of responsibility to consider accessibility as a major part of the decision making process. You are not alone in this and have resources to help you with the evaluation process.  When making considerations about accessibility early on in the purchasing process it allows the University to proactively address any barriers that may impact users.  When products that do not meet accessibility standards are purchased, the University can only achieve access through accommodations that are often less effective and efficient.  

What is EIT?

EIT is information technology and any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in creation, conversation, or duplication of data or information.  Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Telecommunication equipment such as telephones;
  • Information kiosks and transaction machines;
  • World Wide Web sites;
  • Software;
  • Multimedia products, including DVD's; and 
  • Office equipment, such as copiers and fax machines.

What to do?

  • Determine if the product you are purchasing meets the definition of  EIT.
  • Request information from the vendor
    • This can be in the form of a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template), required by the State in RFB processes, it will provide information about the product's accessibility. 
  • Ask for a demonstration of the product's accessibility;
  • Contact CAR and/or ITS for guidance on options or to support your conversations with the vendor.
  • If the items you have chosen is not fully accessible:
    • Identify whether there are similar products that are accessible and consider them as alternatives; 
    • If there is no accessible alternative, contact CAR to document the reason for your selection and collaborate in the development of an alternative plan for access.