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VPAT Vendor Requirements

This webpage contains detailed accessibility requirements for our IT vendor partners. As a public higher education institution, CSUSM is committed to implementing the most accessible Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) products and services. We must apply Federal Section 508 accessibility standards and abide by state and CSU policy for all ITC acquisitions. 

Virtually all products can be corrected or improved over time via re-programming or manufacturing changes. Vendors should be aware that the CSU is serious about accessibility, and products achieving superior accessibility will be preferred in the procurement process. 

Provide a Complete Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)

VPATs are not subject to copyright laws and are not legally binding documents. A VPAT does not contain or disclose proprietary information; instead, quality VPATs will faithfully represent a product's current accessibility conformance, whether accessible or inaccessible.

The current accessibility conformance of any product is readily available to anyone accessing a product's interface, and as such, CSUSM will not sign vendor NDAs to receive accessibility conformance documentation.

Vendors should keep their VPAT current and update it at least annually; VPAT updates should always coincide with product updates. At each time of renewal, we will request updated accessibility conformance documentation from the vendor.

The California State University System, and subsequently, CSUSM, adheres to the WCAG 2.0 AA standard 

Section 508 & WCAG Standards
Section 508 standards aligned with the WCAG standards at the last refresh, with an effective date of January 18, 2018. Vendors may obtain the latest 508 specific VPAT template from the Information Technology Industry Council.
What is a VPAT?
A VPAT is a document that explains how information and communication technology products such as software, hardware, electronic content, and support documentation meet the Revised 508 Standards for IT accessibility.

 help buyers to assess ICT for accessibility when doing market research and evaluating proposals.

We require that vendors complete the following sections of the VPAT for each product at a minimum.

  • VPAT Title page: Name and product version(s), date, contact information, and evaluation methods used
  • Table 1: Success Criteria, Level A
  • Table 2: Success Criteria, Level AA
  • Chapter 3: Functional Performance Criteria (FPC)
  • Chapter 5: Software
  • Chapter 6: Support Documentation and Services
Make sure the VPAT is complete
A complete VPAT provides answers for each Criterion and the selected Conformance Level, with Remarks and Explanations to support the chosen level of conformance for each of your product's unique interface or platforms; web, mobile, etc.

Provide an Accessibility Statement

If your product has significant accessibility barriers that may preclude some users from performing the product's core functions, then you should note those barriers in an accessibility statement.

The purpose of an accessibility statement is to reveal to the end-user known accessibility barriers that exist in your product's interface. When vendors are transparent about unresolved accessibility barriers, affected end-users may be able to work around those issues, or at a minimum, they can determine the cause of errors. Accessibility statements may significantly reduce frustration for individuals that require facilitated access.

Accessibility statements should not include aspirational declarations about accessibility standards; these are useless to the end-user. A link to a product's accessibility statement should be posted in a conspicuous place within your product, preferably a persistent link accessible anywhere within a product's interface. Include contact methods for the end-user to inquire about specific issues they have experienced within the body of the accessibility statement.

Provide an Accessibility Roadmap

An accessibility roadmap provides the expected vendor timelines to correct accessibility barriers present in a product. Essential components of an accessibility roadmap should include:

  • A description of the accessibility barrier
  • The current development status to repair the barrier; planned, deferred, etc.
  • Timeline to complete
  • Existing workarounds

The CSU Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) provides an accessibility roadmap template for vendors.

Conduct a Product Accessibility Demonstration

Once we have had a chance to review your VPAT, we may ask you to demonstrate your product's functionality -or- to provide a test account to the CSUSM ATI Team to do in-house testing.

If the vendor provides a demo of the product: We recommend that the person(s) conducting the demonstration are familiar with accessibility features, including a working knowledge of either NVDA or JAWS screen reading software.

Vendor Questions

  • How is accessibility integrated into your development process?
  • Does your company have an accessibility training program for product developers?
  • What specific tools are used for accessibility testing during product development?

Demonstrate the following actions

  • Operate the entire interface with the keyboard only
  • Demonstrate a well-defined keyboard visual focus throughout
  • Raise the text size to 200% without loss of content or functionality
  • Color contrast: The visual presentation of text and images of text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1, except for large text, incidental text or images, and logos
  • Screen reader: demonstrate how the application works with a screen reader (e.g., JAWS or NVDA).
  • Navigate to <Help> or the product Accessibility Statement link within the application. Demonstrate where a user finds accessibility-related information and features, including how a user contacts product support.

Please visit the CSU Accessible Technology Initiative procurement web page for systemwide policy information.