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Accessibility guidelines for suppliers


Suppliers and vendors that sell or license software, hardware, Web, Learning, and information technology (IT) related products and services to IBM must provide documentation that the products they sell are accessible, which means that the information, and use of the information technology, can be used successfully by people who have disabilities.

Accessible products are developed and tested using accessibility tools and techniques that ensure the products meet accessibility laws, standards, and regulations. It is highly recommended that vendors conduct accessibility verification testing in order to accurately state their compliance.

Product accessibility compliance documentation is completed by the supplier and delivered to IBM. The following formats are acceptable:

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

Section 508 Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)

IBM Accessibility checklist

  • For Web applications, services, or tools that create Web applications or sites, such documentation describing conformance can be either the IBM Web accessibility checklist (preferred), or the Information Technology Industry Council U.S. Section 508 Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) plus a W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) conformance claim.
  • For all other types of IT products and services and output, such documentation describing conformance can be either the applicable IBM accessibility checklist (preferred) or Information Technology Industry Council U.S. Section 508 Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT).
  • For tools that create Web applications or sites, documentation must also be provided to describe the tool's ability to create Web applications or Web sites that conform to applicable accessibility standards. Such documentation describing conformance can be either the IBM Web accessibility checklist (preferred) or the Information Technology Industry Council U.S. Section 508 Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) plus a W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) conformance claim.
  • For tools that create documentation or software, documentation must also be provided to describe the tool's ability to create documentation and software that conforms to applicable accessibility standards. Such documentation describing conformance can be either the applicable IBM accessibility checklist (preferred) or Information Technology Industry Council U.S. Section 508 Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT).

It is important to note that there are multiple checklists, and the usage is dependent on the technology of the product. Therefore, the checklist provided must match the technology and/or the development language being used. In many cases, more than one checklist is required. For example, a software accessibility checklist is required for a software application, and a documentation accessibility checklist for the documentation provided with the application.

In addition, the IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center provides guidelines, checklists, and techniques that can help suppliers understand what they need to do to make their technology and information accessible.

For more information or questions related to product accessibility, contact the IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center.