RFP Questions - Product

This page contains a list of sample requirements for inclusion in a Product RFP (Request for Proposal). At a minimum, 'Accessibility for all users' and 'Comply with WCAG 2.1 Level AA' should be included.

Accessibility for All Users

Requirement Narrative

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.

RFP Statement

Ability to support accessibility for all users.

Please describe how the application supports accessibility, including any accessibility features.

Evaluation Criteria

  • 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?

Requirement Purpose

This is a general requirement that invites the vendor to describe, in broad terms, the accessibility features of their product.

Expected Responses

  • A good response might mention how the vendor seeks feedback from users with disabilities during development.
  • A poor response would be vague or misleading.
  • RFP Response Meaning
    "Our product is designed with WCAG 2.1 AA in mind." We have heard about WCAG, but haven't implemented it yet.
    "Our product is complaint, except for exceptions." We know our product has problems, but we haven't fixed them all yet.
    "We have added an extra level of accessibility." We invented a new way of coding standard web components.


Comply with WCAG 2.1 Level AA

Requirement Narrative

Ensure that web accessible elements of the solution comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines set out in WCAG 2.1 Level AA.

RFP Statement

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.

Please provide details of any known areas of non-compliance and the roadmap for remediation.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Evaluate response against WCAG 2.1 AA

Requirement Purpose

WCAG 2.1 AA is an internationally recognized set of guidelines for web content.

Expected responses

  • A poor response would say that they try and build their solution with accessibility in mind.
  • A basic response would provide an accessibility statement, such as a VPAT with numerous Success Criteria flagged as 'Supports with exceptions' or 'Does not support'.
  • A better response would provide an accessibility statement, showing a limited number of Success Criteria flagged 'Supports with exceptions' or 'Does not support'. Details would be provided as to specific problems.
  • An excellent response would provide an accessibility statement, showing no or a very limited number of Success Criteria flagged 'Supports with exceptions'. Details would be provided on specific problems, together with issue numbers and a timeline for remediation.
  • Tip: WCAG 2.1 is designed to identify defects in web content. Most honest responses from vendors are likely to identify some defect. As a result, you might have to adopt a least worst approach.


Authoring of accessible content

Requirement Narrative

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.

RFP Statement

Describe how the solution supports the authoring of accessible content in accordance with the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Evaluate response against ATAG 2.0

Requirement Purpose

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.

Expected responses

  • A poor response would state that the vendor does not follow the guidelines.
  • A good response would state that authors are limited to text input or that the interface incluses an accessibility checker.
  • An excellent response would say that the authoring interface has been tested by users of assistive technologies.
  • Tip: Sometimes vendors can sell their product short when answering this question, just because they haven't heard of ATAG.


Document Export

Requirement Narrative

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.

RFP Statement

Describe how any exported documents are accessible at a level equivalent to WCAG 2.1 Level AA and can be accessed using assistive technology.

Requirement Purpose

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.

Expected responses

  • A poor response would state that PDF files generated by the application are not accessible.
  • A good response will say that reports and documents are all available in HTML.
  • An excellent response will say that all documents are available as HTML and that exported formats are accessible.


Independent Audit

Requirement Narrative

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.

RFP Statement

Has the solution's accessibility been evaluated by an independent 3rd party? If so, please provide a copy of this report and whether the solution meets accessibility standards.

Requirement Purpose

This question helps to identify whether the vendor really has undertaken a proper accessibility audit of their system.

Expected responses

  • A poor response will say that no testing has been undertaken.
  • An average response will say that testing was conducted internally.
  • A good response will provide the name of a reputable accessibility consultancy or mention user testing.
  • An excellent response will mention user testing and provide the name of a reputable accessibility consultancy and a copy of their findings.
  • Tip: have a look at the date of the audit. If it was completed a few years ago, the defects should have been remedied by now.


Suppliers Accessibility Capacity

Requirement Narrative

Ensure the Supplier is able to develop and supply an accessible solution.

RFP Statement

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:

  1. The Supplier has not come across accessibility issues and has no particular knowledge of accessibility issues.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Evaluation Criteria

  • 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.

Requirement Purpose

This requirement comes from AS EN 301 549:2016 and allows suppliers to rate their in-house accessibility capacity.

Expected Responses

  • A poor response would be a vendor who rates themselves as a 3, 4 or 5 but don't have evidence of their accessibility activities.
  • A poor resonse would be a vendor who states that they have a high accessibility capacity, but still have a number of defects in their product.
  • A good response would provide details of staff responsible for accessibility.
  • A good response would mention a corporate policy on accessibility.
  • An excellent response would provide evidence that accessibility policies exist and are being applied.
  • Tip: Vendors have a tendency to overrate their in-house accessibility competency.

Contact Us

For accessibility problems please contact:

Andrew Normand
Web Accessibility Lead
Email: anormand@unimelb.edu.au
Phone: +61 3 9035 4867

For all other enquiries contact: