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Trust, But Verify: Auditing Vendor-Supplied Accessibility Claims
Code4Lib (2020)
  • Melina Zavala, Grand Valley State University
  • Matthew Reidsma, Grand Valley State University
Despite a long-overdue push to improve the accessibility of our libraries’ online presences, much of what we offer to our patrons comes from third party vendors: discovery layers, OPACs, subscription databases, and so on. We can’t directly affect the accessibility of the content on these platforms, but rely on vendors to design and test their systems and report on their accessibility through Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATS). But VPATs are self-reported. What if we want to verify our vendors’ claims? We can’t thoroughly test the accessibility of hundreds of vendor systems, can we? In this paper, we propose a simple methodology for spot-checking VPATs. Since most websites struggle with the same accessibility issues, spot checking particular success criteria in a library vendor VPAT can tip us off to whether the VPAT as a whole can be trusted. Our methodology combines automated and manual checking, and can be done without any expensive software or complex training. What’s more, we are creating a repository to share VPAT audit results with others, so that we needn’t all audit the VPATs of all our systems.
  • Accessibility,
  • vendor,
  • vpat
Publication Date
May 11, 2020
Citation Information
Melina Zavala and Matthew Reidsma. "Trust, But Verify: Auditing Vendor-Supplied Accessibility Claims" Code4Lib Iss. 48 (2020) ISSN: 1940-5758
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Creative Commons license
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons CC_BY International License.