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Re: Accessible Applications


From: Spruill Kevin
Date: May 13, 2008 3:30PM


As Dept. of State is a government agency, they are required by law
(Section 508) to be compliant w/ those standards not the more stringent
WCAG rules. A quick test reveals provisional failures there as well. You
should send the webmaster an email noting that.

Which reminds me, Kara I vaguely recall seeing something in recent case
law that stated that Organizations receiving funds from the govt. had to
meet the 504 requirements, and by extension 508 - this might just be a
limited finding (California I believe). Not sure, but I'll dig around.
That might be useful in contacting the vendors and asking them to fill
out a detailed VPAT for your institution.

Kevin Spruill
IT Specialist
Information Resources Accessibility Program
Phone: (202) 283-7059
IRAP Web site: http://irap.web.irs.gov

-----Original Message-----
From: Cliff Tyllick [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 11:45 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
J Singleton
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] [SEC508] Accessible Applications

Darian points us to http://www.state.gov/m/irm/impact/52675.htm, where
the State Department states that it requires VPATs of its vendors. Of
course, the State Department's requirements have no direct impact on
vendors in their business relationship with Kara's employer, GMU.

I find it interesting that this page fails validation and violates all
versions of WCAG in a number of ways (it lacks meaningful text in links,
for one; its headings are not coded as such, for another). No doubt
every government agency has a lot of work to do in making its Web site
accessible, but State might wish to address this page quickly if it
wants to show that it's serious about requiring accessibility.

>>> "Darian Glover" < <EMAIL REMOVED> > 5/13/2008 8:07 AM >>>

I cannot cite every Department's and Agency's procurement rules within
the Federal Government, mostly because government procurement is such a
Here is one Department that does require VPATs:



On 5/12/08, Karl Groves < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> That's quite a list you have, Kara.
> One step that may help you in finding what you seek is to look for a
> VPAT for these products. Contrary to Darian's response, VPATs are not

> mandatory (what is mandatory is that the FAR Part 10 requires market
> research, for which VPATs help.).
> The other thing about VPATs is that, in my experience, they're often
> inaccurate. I don't want to say that vendors lie on their VPATs
> (though they could) but that sometimes it seems like the person
> filling them out doesn't seem to understand 508 or that the version of

> the application currently in release is not the same as the version
discussed in the VPAT.
> There seems to be a lot of reasons why a VPAT could be inaccurate. The

> bottom line is, be skeptical. In cases where a VPAT was supplied by a
> 3rd party, accuracy seems to increase (because those 3rd parties don't

> want to be grilled about inaccuracies).
> A VPAT is NOT a legal document and does not, in and of itself, prevent

> or permit any acquisition.
> > Also, has anyone contacted vendors directly asking for changes to be

> > made in response to accessibility if contract language wasn't
> > originally in the picture
> In practice: Your chances are relatively slim and directly
> proportional to your purchasing power. For example, let's say GMU is
> purchasing something from Microsoft. The chance of them remediating
> something for GMU is nonexistent compared to the chance they'd do it
> for a major government agency such as IRS or SSA and, unless it is in
> the original contract is already slim-to-none. A contract is a
> contract and must clearly define the work to be performed, including
> adherence to any standards for
> accessibility. It would be like trying to take a car back to the
> dealership because it came with the wrong engine when you didn't tell
> the dealer which engine you wanted in the first place. The best you
> can do is learn from mistakes and make sure they're not made again.
> Karl Groves
> AIM/YIM: karlcore
> Skype: eight.pistons
> www.WebAccessStrategies.com
> > -----Original Message-----
> > [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
> > On Behalf Of Kara Zirkle
> > Sent: Monday, May 12, 2008 3:01 PM
> > <EMAIL REMOVED> ; Korey J Singleton
> > Subject: [SEC508] Accessible Applications
> >
> > Is anyone using any of the following applications or products and if

> > so could you please give me some input on whether or not they are
> > accessible to individuals with disabilities or meet Section 508
> > Compliance? Also, if anyone has done research on similar
> > applications and chose not to go with one of the following
> > applications what application did you go with that was more
> >
> > Applications such as:
> >
> > Adobe Breeze; Townhall; Blackboard; Respondus; CMS' Droople,
> > Paperthin, Commonspot and Figleaf; Luminous; Hawkeye software assets

> > tracking; Email applications GoogleApps, Microsoft Live or Exchange
> > Labs; various Blog Platforms (ex. Wordpress); various Survey
> > Software; Banner and other Sunguard applications; SkillPort; iTunes
> > U Podcasting; Accordent Capture; SharePoint 2007; Microsoft VISTA;
> > ILLiad (interlibrary loan management system); VuFind; Basecamp;
> > GMPLS (generalized multiprotocol label switching); AppWorx; and
> > Touchnet software
> >
> > Also, has anyone contacted vendors directly asking for changes to be

> > made in response to accessibility if contract language wasn't
> > originally in the picture? Can anyone make any suggestions about
> > this?
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > --
> > Kara Zirkle
> > IT Accessibility Coordinator
> > Assistive Technology Initiative
> > Thompson Hall RM 114 Mail Stop: 6A11 Fairfax Campus 4400 University
> > Drive Fairfax, VA 22030
> > Phone: 703-993-9815
> > Fax: 703-993-4743
> > http://www.gmu.edu/accessibility/ati/home.html
> >
> >