Many companies will claim to have Section 508 compliance and accessible online applications, but simply put their solutions are NOT. Are you opening yourself up to possible lawsuits in deploying one of these applications at your school or business because a lack of due diligence? Just because a salesperson might verbally say they are 508 compliant to close a deal or “will be next version”, how can you be sure? Can the sales team put it in writing for you? A good way to check if the company has at least a baseline understanding or has thought about accessibility is to review their Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) from the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC.) More about this template can be found here. Here is an example of our Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) for a student facing online application.
Many large companies in education build their software on top of third party software they do not control or an old, proprietary codebase that cannot be or is too expensive to update to current standards. Are you using such an application right now? A quick check is to check is open the application with an accessibility checker such as WAVE’s Firefox toolbar. This toolbar is free and can be executed after account creation, unlike some other tools that can’t access user authenticated pages. If you are uncertain about the state of your website student application you can contact us for third party review or purchase compliance checking software packages from vendors like Hi Software or CAST.