All information and communication technology (ICT) procured, developed, maintained, or used by Federal agencies must be accessible. ICT includes software, hardware, electronic content, support documentation and services.
If you manufacture, build, design, create, teach, or resell ICT products or services, you are an ICT Vendor. To do business with the Federal government, you need to demonstrate that your ICT product or service is accessible and conforms to the Revised 508 Standards.
The easiest way to showcase information about product accessibility to government buyers is to provide a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT).
- Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) - Learn about VPATs and download the template.
Here are some suggestions on how to showcase the accessibility of your services to government buyers.
- Provide a concise accessibility statement outlining your accessibility approach or capability.
- Address functional performance criteria either directly or through support for appropriate assistive technologies, including technologies or components where there is no specific requirement under the technical standards.
- Identify accessibility for additional ICT features beyond the identified program requirements.
Responding to Solicitations
In your solicitation response, provide language to demonstrate your understanding of the regulations and requirements, and how well your product or service complies with the Revised 508 Standards.
Government solicitations that involve ICT will include a list of requirements to ensure that the deliverable will be accessible. (Note, this list used to be called a GPAT.) When these requirements are included with a solicitation, your proposed solution must explain how you will address them.
- Provide a written Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR) for each ICT item, based on product VPATs for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) items that will be configured or modified to meet contract requirements. The ACR must be complete and submitted according to the instructions in the VPAT to be considered for award.
In your response, consider also providing the following:
- A written Supplemental Accessibility Report (SAR) which documents evaluation methods used to produce the ACR, highlights features in your solution that improve accessibility and usability, and explains how to configure and install the ICT item to support accessibility.
- A demonstration of the COTS items you’re proposing to use to meet contract requirements. During the demonstration, show how you will configure or maintain the solution to support the agency’s accessibility requirements.
When the solicitation requires ICT items that will be used to generate electronic content (documents, reports, videos, multimedia, web content, etc.), and you plan to use COTS authoring tools as a substantial component in your solution, consider providing:
- Samples of accessible electronic content produced by the authoring tools.
- A demonstration of how the COTS authoring tools enable the creation of accessible content ”out of the box,” including a full range of user interface elements that can be generated by the tool.
When bidding on contracts to develop IT, when there is no product yet to evaluate, consider providing a statement on your company’s approach to accessibility.
- Learn about Policy-Driven Adoption for Accessibility (PDAA) from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO).
- Procurement for accessible IT products and services - PDAA tool and guidance developed by the NASCIO workgroup and hosted by the State of Minnesota to help vendors measure internal support for accessibility.
- Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)
- Request Accessibility Information from Vendors and Contractors - Guidance for agencies on how to develop and document accessibility requirements
- Acquisition Gateway - A workspace for acquisition professionals and federal buyers to connect with resources, tools and each other to improve acquisition government-wide.
Reviewed/Updated: May 2018