What accessibility questions do I need to ask my vendor before starting a custom website with a vendor?

Keeping accessibility in mind before starting a site will save you money.  Please use the following checklist before starting your new website or redesign:

1. Does the vendor have an accessibility statement?

An accessibility statement demonstrates a company's commitment to creating accessible products.

  • Vendors with an accessibility statement shows some accessibility awareness.
  • If a vendor does not already have an accessibility statement, it tends to demonstrate a lack of accessibility awareness. If they don't know, they probably will not create an accessible site.

2. How will the vendor verify that the website is accessible and conforms to applicable WCAG criteria?

  • They should describe their website accessibility testing process. This should include automated tests, manual checks, and testing with screen readers.

3. Include accessibility requirements in the procurement language so expectations are clear.

When vendors and customers start out on the same page, there will be fewer surprises when it's too late. 

4. When agreeing to a timeline, allow enough time for reviews.

Assessments by our Web Accessibility Initiative are free for Duke websites. Reviewing the designs for accessibility issues before code development starts will always save you money. Set milestones with your vendor for that leave room for accessibility reviews. 

  • Let us know when you start a new project to get on our schedule.
    • Design review:
      • If it is on our schedule, one day for design reviews is usually adequate. 
      • If it is not on our schedule, we will work it in as soon as we can.
    • Code review:
      • Please leave 5 business days.  If it is on our schedule, it might take one day. If there are a lot of problems it will take more days. 
      • If it is not on our schedule, we will work it in as soon as we can. If we don't get enough notice and our schedule is full, Duke Web Services is qualified to do assessments, but not for free.
  • We need to ensure people with disabilities have equal access to the website and it's web content before it launches.
    • The fanfare and social media that go along with launching a website bring attention to it. External entities look for new website launches and will scrutinize the work for accessibility.
    • The drama involved in fixing a site after launch is unnecessary and stressful for all parties.

When a vendor knows the site will be reviewed they will do better work.

  • They are more likely to review the website for quality assurance.
  • They are more likely to put better developers on the project. 

Helpful documentation and articles for vendors.