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Electronic & IT Accessibility Evaluation Criteria

View the software and tool accessibility exemption and exception criteria

If you require assistance with reviewing the accessibility of a software or application, submit the Software Accessibility Review Form.

Initial Review Questions

  1. First, is the product being purchased for an individual who does not require an accommodation? If yes, there is no further action required.

  2. If the product does not meet criteria 1 above, does the VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) provided by the company manufacturing or supporting the product provide a description of the accessibility level of the product?

  3. Next, if there are clear indications the product is not compliant with 508 standards, does the purchase qualify for an exemption or exception?

  4. If a product is clearly inaccessible, does not qualify for an exemption or exception, and is not a purchase for an individual who needs no accommodation, an alternative access plan is developed.

Manual Review

If the VPAT or other documentation does not provide the product's accessibility level or the accessibility level cannot be determined, a manual check is performed using a variety of assistive technologies such as keyboard-only access, a screen reader, voice activation and enlargement software. Here are the criteria reviewed:

Text clarity, color contrast and scalability

Determines whether or not visually impaired or color blind users can work with the software. We also look for infractions in how content animates or flashes.

Functional area labeling

Checks that areas are adequately labeled so those who cannot see are able to determine the function of the content. Includes buttons, links, image maps, drop-down menus and combo boxes and is especially important for any operation that contains a form or survey.

Keyboard operability

Tests all controls using the keyboard only (no mouse). The focus should be clearly visible, and the order in which the focus moves around the screen and/or the tab order is correct.

Audio and video content access

Checks that player controls are present for keyboard and assistive technology access. We also review incorporated content to determine if there is accurate captioning or possible transcripts of verbal content.

Navigation

Ensures that structural designs which provide landmarks for navigation by keyboard and assistive technology are present. Headings, menus and targetable areas like combo boxes and buttons should provide access to the top level menus as well as any submenus as well. Document flow and tables with column and table headings are also part of this evaluation.

Voice operability

Measures how well an operation can be controlled using voice-activated software. Frequently, operations within a software can be reached but a problem occurs when internal content is altered causing a loss of focus for the voice input technology.