If you're looking to work with a vendor on website creation or redesign, DAS has related guidance on assessing a website vendor for accessibility. You can also email DAS at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional assistance in the vendor selection process. Doing so earlier in your process will yield the best opportunity for success.
Make sure the Accessibility Rider is included in the vendor contract. By signing it, a vendor commits to upholding Harvard’s accessibility standards. This will make it much easier to address accessibility issues promptly if they arise after the product is in use. Download the Accessibility Rider (Word document, HarvardKey required) from the Office of General Counsel (OGC) website.
If the vendor is unwilling to sign the Accessibility Rider, there needs to be other assurances they will improve their product’s accessibility over time so that eventually they may comply. An accessibility roadmap should be established, explaining what accessibility issues need to be addressed and the timeline upon which the vendor intends to address them. Periodic check-ins with the vendor should also be scheduled to measure progress against accessibility goals. Contact DAS (email@example.com) for help developing an accessibility roadmap.
When a vendor is not yet able to provide fully accessible technology, but a roadmap has been established that shows their plan for bringing the technology into compliance, a Temporary Exception for Accessibility form (PDF) can be filed that will grant a one-year exception to the Accessibility Rider. The Temporary Exception Form explains the limitations of the vendor’s accessibility and their commitment to improving, while also allowing the product owner to consider how someone needing an accessible product might still gain equivalent access. In accordance with the ATPDP it is signed by the CIO of the school/unit.
Save any key accessibility documentation along with the contract. If you’re documenting the contract in Harvard’s Buy-to-Pay (B2P) system, contact the Contract Manager for document uploading. Learn more about how to document accessibility in B2P.
When renewing a contract, the Accessibility Rider should be re-offered, regardless of whether or not it was signed previously. Accessibility documentation should also be reviewed for renewal, including:
- VPAT/ACR reports
- Past Roadmaps/Temporary Exception Forms
- Other vendor documentation
DAS would like to learn about good or poor experiences with vendors regarding accessibility. Finding and sharing about willing vendor partners committed to accessibility helps ensure we all make a more inclusive experience. Your feedback will help us compile a list of vendors that can be recommended for their work with accessibility.
For any questions related to this process or for questions about digital accessibility in general, send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.