Guidance for Purchasing Scenarios

Pre-Packaged Products

When working with pre-packaged products from a vendor, for example, downloadable, shrink-wrapped software or bundled instructional materials,  you may or may not work with a sales representative.

Working with a vendor’s sales representative

When looking to procure or renew products, it is recommended that you contact a vendor’s sales representative whenever possible to request verification that their product meets accessibility standards. 

Suggested wording to include in your vendor correspondence is:

“Northern Arizona University requires that all Information and Communication Technology (“ICT”) be compliant with Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended,  as well as all related local, state, and federal laws,  and University policies. Accessibility will be measured by Section 508 for general ICT and by WCAG 2.0 AA for web accessibility. Could you provide either a statement on the accessibility of [name of product or service], or a current Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) for the software? If you are not familiar with a VPAT, we recommend using the CSU Guide to Completing the Voluntary Product Evaluation Template(VPAT). If [name of product or service] is not fully compliant, do you have or would you be willing to create a roadmap for accessibility that you could share? If you do not have a roadmap, an accessibility roadmap template is available.

The product must be reviewed for accessibility regardless of whether the vendor provides you with the requested information. Refer to the section Determining the accessibility of a product for instruction on performing an accessibility review.

Working without a sales representative 

 If a sales representative is not available to you, it can be difficult to determine the accessibility of a product.  Some suggested strategies are:

  • Search for '508' or 'VPAT' on the manufacturer's website.
  • Locate the contact information for the manufacturer, and reach out to someone at the company for information on the accessibility of their product. A VPAT is preferred.
  • Use Google or another search engine to look for a VPAT or a 508 compliance statement for the product  you are looking to purchase.

 Once you have performed your search, refer to the section  “Determining the accessibility of a product.”


 Required Contract Language

 When a contract or contract renewal is prepared to provide programs, services, and/or instructional materials to the University, the Contracting and Purchasing Services department (“CPS”) will ensure that the appropriate language is incorporated into the contract.

  An accessibility review of the product is required before submitting  a contract or contract renewal to  CPS if the contract or contract renewal does not have an accessibility clause. If the product is not fully accessible, an Accessibility Exceptions Request form must be submitted to Access and Equity.

 Procuring additional licenses to existing products

 The procurement of additional licenses to the same version of an existing, previously purchased, accessible product can be processed without an additional accessibility review of the product. 

  Competitive Solicitations

 All competitive solicitation specifications will include accessibility requirements and evaluation criteria.


Maintenance renewals

 RFP's, which are created for maintenance renewals, must have an accessibility review of the product.