Requirements and Vendor Responses
Listed below are requirements that can be included in the RFP. At a minimum, 'Accessibility for all users' and 'Comply with WCAG 2.1 Level AA' should be included.
Accessibility for All Users
Ensure that services can be accessed by all users, including those with disabilities. Note that some University academic and professional staff rely on screen readers and audio playback to do their work. Operational documentation is in scope as well as end user documentation.
Describe how the solution supports accessibility for all users.
- Has the Supplier provided a general statement on how the solution supports accessibility for all users, including those with disabilities?
- Has the Supplier provided links to statements and information regarding the accessibility of its product?
- Are accessibility features available by default for all users, or does accessibility have to be enabled in some way?
This is a general requirement that invites the vendor to describe the accessibility of their product.
What to look for
Vendors are often vague or misleading when providing accessibility requirements in tender documentation. For example:
|"Our product is designed with WCAG 2.1 AA in mind."||We have heard about WCAG, but haven't fully implemented it yet.|
|"Our product is complaint, except for exceptions."||We know our product has problems, but we haven't fixed them yet.|
|"We have added an extra level of accessibility."||We have invented a new way of coding standard web components.|
Comply with WCAG 2.1 Level AA
Ensure that web accessible elements of the solution comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines set out in WCAG 2.1 Level AA.
Provide a statement of how the solution complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA including any known areas of non-compliance.
- Evaluate statement against AS EN 301 549:2016, Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services.
- Evaluate as per the protocols of the standard.
Exceeds expectations / Meets expectations / Partially meets requirements / Does not meet requirements / Exempt from response
WCAG 2.1 AA is an internationally recognized set of guidelines for web content. AS EN 301 549:2016, Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services incorporates these guidelines.
What to look for
- Pro: Evidence that vendor has audited their product
- Pro: Vendor has identified some defects
- Pro: Testing has been conducted involving users with disabilities
- Pro: A timeline has been established for remediation of defects
- Con: Vendor statement of WCAG 2.1 compliance, without any evidence. e.g. audit results or user testing
- Con: Known accessibility issues without any timeline for remediation
Limitations of WCAG
WCAG 2.1 is designed to identify defects in web content. Almost every web site or web application has some defect. As a result, most honest responses from vendors are likely to result in a rating of 'Does not comply' or 'Partial compliance'.
Accessibility of the solution
Ensure the Supplier is able to develop and supply an accessible solution.
Indicate the level of the Supplier's accessibility capacity by choosing from the following statements and including the statement and any relevant supporting information in the response:
- The Supplier has not come across accessibility issues and has no particular knowledge of accessibility issues.
- The Supplier is aware of the need for accessibility, but the issue is not a corporate priority. The Supplier has not found sufficient customer demand to acquire a basic knowledge. If an accessibility problem arises, it will be solved from scratch.
- The Supplier is aware of accessibility and is to some extent prepared for action. The actions will, however, be taken on an ad hoc basis. The Supplier may know of accessibility guidelines and has contact with accessibility expertise externally or upstream in the company.
- The Supplier has competence in developing and supplying an accessible solution and an organisational unit at its disposal, either internally or externally which can develop and supply an accessible solution. There is a commitment by the top management level to promote accessibility. Usability knowledge is applied. One or more staff members may be assigned to monitor the field of accessibility and have basic knowledge of the field. Access to further expertise may exist upstream in the company, or the supplier may have an agreement with an external expert who can act as a subcontractor.
- Accessibility is one of the activities of the Supplier. A corporate policy on accessibility is established, enforced and well-known by the staff. A competent organisation unit is established in-house. Accessibility guidelines are well-known and applied.
AS EN 301 549:2016, Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services provides the following guidance for evaluating responses:
- For procurements of systems intended for the public, a supplier with an accessibility approach of level 4 should be a minimum requirement..
- For procurements of systems where a significant number of end-users can be expected to be dependent on a high accessibility standard of the system, a supplier with an accessibility approach of level 3 should be a minimum requirement.
- Outsourcing of an ICT-based activity to a third party supplier normally means that the responsibility for the accessibility of the system and the services provided by the system stays with the procuring body, but the methods of how to provide accessibility is to be decided by the supplier. This requires that the supplier has an approach to accessibility corresponding to at least level 4.
- For alternatives 3, 4 and 5, the supplier should be required to provide evidence for his assessment by submitting a declaration showing, where applicable, the approach taken, the organisation, partners and external experts.
This requirement comes from AS EN 301 549:2016 and allows suppliers to rate their in-house accessibility capacity.
What to look for
Vendors have a tendency to overrate their in-house accessibility competency.
- Pro: Details of staff responsible for accessibility.
- Pro: Corporate policy on accessibility.
- Pro: Evidence that accessibility policies are applied.
- Con: Vendors who rate themselves as a 3, 4 or 5 but don't have evidence of their accessibility activities
- Con: Vendors who state that they have a high accessibility capacity, but still have a number of defects in their product
Authoring of accessible content
Ensure that the solution encourages the authoring of accessible content in accordance with the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG). Guidelines are available at https://www.w3.org/TR/ATAG20. Examples of authoring capabilities that encourage accessible content include use of labels on form input fields.
Describe how the solution supports the authoring of accessible content in accordance with the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0.
- Evaluate response against ATAG 2.0
People with disabilities don't just consume content, they also create it. The ATAG guidelines ensure that web content authoring tools, such as a CMS, are accessible to users with a disability. The guidelines also enable and support the production of accessible content by prompting content authors to add alt text to images and labels on form input fields.
The solution is to allow authorised users to export documents in file formats that can be read with MS Office suite applications such as MS Word and MS Excel, as well as other formats such as .csv and .pdf.
Describe how any exported documents are accessible at a level equivalent to WCAG 2.1 Level AA and can be accessed using assistive technology.
Web applications often produce reports and documents. It is important that at least one form of exported document is accessible to users of assistive technologies. For example, if a an application produces financial reports using charts, the source data should be available as well, perhaps as a data table.
For assistance or to report accessibility problems please contact:
Web Accessibility Lead
Phone: +61 3 9035 4867