Accessibility Tip of the Week

Before you buy (part two)...

  • Summary: Check how they ensure their products are accessible.
  • Who it helps: Your employees and customers with disabilities.
  • Additional benefits: Buying accessible up front saves your organization time and money in the long run.

When you buy a website, software, platform or other digital service, it is important to include accessibility as a requirement for that purchase. The second step is to ask about the process they used for verifying the accessibility.

Even if they include a summary in their materials or presentation, you ought to question their sales engineers specifically about accessibility. Ask how they ensure the accessibility of their product or platform. Listen for the following and follow up on each as needed:

  1. It’s a good sign if they promote the accessibility expertise they have on staff.
  2. Be careful if mention overlays. It is generally best to avoid products that use overlays to provide accessibility - they are less likely to be successful and more likely to break.
  3. Expect them to discuss one of more of the following standards:
  4. Check how they test and what aspects of accessibility that they test for. They should mention testing keyboard accessibility, color contrast, accessible forms, responsive design, and testing with a screen reader.
  5. If the product is a website or a content creation tool, inquire how they will help you create content that is accessible. Ideally, their product will prompt you to add alternative text to images, use good heading structure and include labels and descriptions on forms. They may also point you to plain language guidance (like or integrated AI-assistance).

Pay attention to the details and thoroughness of their answers. Often, companies will strive for compliance rather than making accessibility a priority. If you know what to listen for, you’ll be able to understand whether they make accessibility a priority or not.

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0    .

If you are promoting accessibility within your organization or community, sending out easy-to-understand tips can be a helpful addition to your strategy. You are welcome to share the tips here under the mentioned Creative Commons license, as long as you cite Accessible Community as your source.