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Technology Accessibility

 

When purchasing web or other IT products, departments must ensure that they are accessible to everyone, including users with disabilities.

The State of Arkansas is required to comply with the provisions of Arkansas Code Annotated §25-26-201 et seq., as amended by Act 308 of 2013 and the Government-wide Section 508 Accessibility Program prior to procuring a technology product or when soliciting the development of such a product. Arkansas Code §25-26-201 expresses the policy of the State to provide individuals who are blind or visually impaired with access to information technology purchased in whole or in part with state funds.

Operating Procedure 05-46 Information Technology Purchases sets out the requirements for all technology purchases. Departments are responsible for obtaining a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT®) from the vendor and submitting the required documentation for review prior to the procurement of such technology. 

VPAT® Review Process


  • 1. Request the vendor's completed VPAT®

    VPAT® (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) is a template used to document a product's conformance with accessibility standards and guidelines.

    When requesting a quote for a technology purchase please ask the vendor if they have a VPAT® or if they are willing to complete one. If they cannot, the process can continue, but it is recommended that an alternative vendor and/or product be sought. You can also try doing a web search for the terms "508" or "VPAT" along with the product and/or vendor name as many manufacturers publish these documents to their websites.

  • 2. Verify the VPAT® and test the product

    First, review the VPAT® and if "Partially Supports" or "Does Not Support" appears in the column then the product is not fully accessible. Ask the vendor for a remediation road map if this is the case.

    Second, a basic accessibility evaluation consists of testing out usage of the product with keyboard-only navigation and compatibility with screen reading software. Tools to complete this can be found in #3.

    One of the following checklists can be completed, with optimum effort, to aid in the overall VPAT® evaluation:

    For assistance in completing these checklists, please contact Eric Jones at 972-2005 or ejones@astate.edu.

    In order for our office to evaluate, we must have a demo or trial version of the product. Simply provide a link and/or provide any login credentials for the demo and send to vpat@astate.edu.

  • 3. Download or obtain appropriate testing resources

    The following resources can be used to assist in completion of VPAT® testing:

    Screen Readers

    Keyboard

    Magnifiers

    Site Scans

  • 4. Complete the Technology Accessibility Overview Form

    The Technology Accessibility Overview Form should be completed for every VPAT® evaluation request. The form asks details such as requestor information, technology details, and contains the approval signatures. It is used to provide details that may aid in the overall evaluation.

  • 5. To request an exemption, complete the VPAT® Exemption Form

    A VPAT® Exemption can be requested if you feel that your product fits one or more of the descriptions below:

    • Inherently Visual: Involves high usage of sight with no work-around. To be made fully accessible would alter fundamental characteristics or purposes of the product to the extent it no longer meets its intended purpose
    • "Back Office": Equipment or software that is limited in access. Frequented by service, maintenance, and administration personnel
    • Software-Related Equipment: Equipment containing or involving technology, but not the acquisition, storage, management, etc. of information. An example is HVAC and medical equipment

    To request a VPAT® Exemption please complete the VPAT Exemption Form. Contact Eric Jones for more information at 972-2005 or ejones@astate.edu.

  • 6. Submit documents and demos

    Submit all forms and documents, as well as the information to download or log into a demo to vpat@astate.edu or hand deliver the documents to the Administration Building - Office of Finance, Attention: Eric Jones or Traci Ellington.


Once the product has been approved for accessibility, the department may submit a Banner requisition to Procurement Services.

Technology and other subscriptions may be purchased on the PCard, but must be approved by Procurement Services and evaluated for accessibility by the Office of Operational Excellence before the purchase can be made.