Verifying Vendor Information

After you have received information from the vendor about the accessibility of their product, you need to validate that the information is correct. VPATs and other accessibility information are completed voluntarily and without external verification. 

This typically takes the form of a product demo, either self-guided or with the vendor.

Reviewing VPATs

The VPAT will report how the product conforms to all the WCAG criteria. Next to each criteria, it will list "Supports", "Partially Supports", "Does Not Support", or "N/A". If a criteria is not fully supported, there are typically notes indicating how the product is not in conformance. We adhere to the WCAG Level A and AA criteria, we can ignore any WCAG Level AAA criteria.

Ideally, every criteria will be "supported", but in practice, very few products will fully support every single WCAG criteria, and this is ok. If a criteria is partially supported or not supported, this provides us with helpful areas to pay special attention to during product reviews. The main things to look out for are:

  • Significant numbers of "Not Supported" items
  • Items that are flagged as "Not Supported" or "Partially Supported" that do not provide additional descriptions of the barriers
  • Items flagged as "N/A" when you reasonably believe that these features are included in the product.

These criteria can be subjective, and it's important to note who completed the VPAT. A VPAT completed by an independent third-party agency is frequently more critical than one completed internally; a product with a third-party VPAT that lists a few items as "Partially Supports" is likely more accessible than a product with an in-house VPAT that reports minimal or no barriers. 

If you would like assistance reviewing or interpreting a VPAT, please contact

Reviewing Questionnaires

The biggest benefit to VPATs is they force vendors to be explicit about how their product stacks up against accessibility requirements. Open-ended questions can allow for non-committal answers. When reviewing questionnaires, look out for questions that are either entirely unanswered, or given vague answers that refer to abstract commitments to accessibility.

We have legal and technical standards to follow, and if the vendor declines to provide direct answers to accessibility questions, we must perform a thorough, independent review.

Verifying Information

After we have requested, received, and reviewed accessibility information provided by the vendor, we independently verify this information by requesting access to a demo/test environment of the product, to independently evaluate the service.

Our independent reviews should be thorough, with a special focus paid to any items flagged in the VPAT or questionnaire that do not meet our accessibility requirements.

If none of these options are available, we must conclude that the product does not meet our accessibility guidelines, and either choose a different vendor, or submit a request for an accessibility exemption.

Contractual Accessibility Clause

VPATs and questionnaires are good-faith and non-committal statements on the accessibility of a product or service, at a snapshot in time. They are not a legally binding commitment. The best way to ensure the vendor ICT is accessible is to include an accessibility clause in the contract; this obliges the vendor to address any accessibility issues in their product or service.

Contracts processed by PCS including the following accessibility clause:

COMPLIANCE WITH ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS.  Provider warrants that it complies with Oregon and federal disabilities laws and regulations. (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. Sections 12101 et seq.).  Provider hereby warrants the products or services it will provide under this Contract comply with the accessibility requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. Section 794d), and its implementing regulations set forth at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1194. Provider warrants that the products and services it will provide under this Contract comply with Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. Section 255). Provider warrants that the products and services it will provide under this Contract comply with World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0, 2.1) and University accessibility standards. Provider agrees to promptly respond to and resolve any complaint regarding accessibility of its products or services. Provider further agrees to indemnify and hold harmless University from any claims arising out of Provider’s failure to comply with the aforesaid requirements. Failure to comply with these requirements shall constitute a material breach of this Contract.

We recommend including the same language in any contracts not processed by PCS.

Review any language with Purchasing and Contracting Services, or appropriate legal advisors before using in any contract.