STEP 1: Gather Information

In the first step of the process, the Purchase Requester obtains all information that is necessary for the ATI Designee to perform an initial evaluation and conduct an accessibility review

For purchases that do not require a competitive bid process, the Purchase Requestor is responsible to:

  1. Complete the Pre-Purchase Information Form;
    1. Identify functional and business requirements for product/service;
    2. Conduct market research to find products that meet requirements;
    3. Select product/service that best meets the functional and business requirements;
  2. Request VPAT(s): Obtain up-to-date Voluntary Product Accessibility Template(s) from the vendor; and
  3. Submit Accessibility documentation for review (Pre-Purchase Information Form and VPAT(s))
Table 1 - Step 1 at a glance
Responsible Person Consultation Input(s) Output(s)
Purchase Requester ATI Designee, IT Staff Blank Pre-Purchase Information Form Completed Pre-Purchase Information Form
Purchase Requester ATI Designee, Vendor VPAT request to Vendor Completed VPAT(s)
Purchase Requester ATI Designee Completed Pre-Purchase Information Form and VPAT(s) Submit documentation to ATI Designee

Step 1 - Details

Complete Pre-Purchase Information Form (1a)

In this sub-step, the purchase requester completes the ICT Pre-Purchase Information Form. The completed form is sent to the ATI Designee and is used to provide key information about the product's functionality, the product's intended use and user-base and to evaluate the potential impact of using the product, especially for persons with disabilities.

Identify functional and business requirements (1a.1)

In this sub-step, the purchase requester determines functional and business requirements. If requirements are incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete, it becomes less likely the product selected will be implemented successfully or used as originally planned.

It is often helpful to separate requirements into two groups:

  • Minimum requirements (essential functionality); and
  • Preferred requirements (functionality that is desirable but isn't essential)

Determining functional requirements includes considering factors such as:

  • What are the essential product functions / functionality that is required?
  • Are there any special technical requirements?
  • Does the product require specialized training?
  • Does the product require interoperability with an existing information system?

Determining business requirements includes considering factors such as:

  • What funds are available to fund the initial purchase?
  • What funds are available to fund on-going use and maintenance costs?
  • Is there a date-specific requirement to complete implementation?
  • Is the vendor required to have any pre-qualifications (e.g. authorizations, certifications)?

Conduct market research (1a.2)

In this sub-step, the purchase requester finds all products that meet the minimum functional and business requirements. The process of comparing multiple products that meet minimum requirements allows a purchase requester to become educated about the available solutions in the market and thereby make a better-informed purchasing decision.

Select product / service that best meets requirements (1a.3)

In this sub-step, the purchase requester compares all products that meet the minimum requirements and selects the product that represents the best value. Determining best value involves considering a variety of factors, such as:

  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Total cost of ownership (TCO)
  • Usability and functionality
  • Ease of Integration
  • Vendor's reputation
  • Vendor's past performance
  • Accessibility implications for persons with disabilities*

*The requester is not expected to be an accessibility expert and will not be able to critically review products for accessibility. It is recommended that purchase requesters consult with the ATI Designee about a proposed purchase and the likely accessibility implications for end-users.

Request VPAT(s) (1b)

In this sub-step, the purchase requester asks the vendor to provide a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template ("VPAT") for each product being considered for purchase. The VPAT form, developed by the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), was designed to provide vendors a standardized method of self-reporting information about how their products conform to each of the Section 508 Accessibility Standards.

There are many ways for purchase requesters to obtain a VPAT, including:

  • Ask vendor sales representative
  • Search vendor's website using keywords such as "VPAT", "Accessibility," or "Section 508"
  • Search the CSU Systemwide Contract Store (authentication required, must log into CSYou before going to the link) database for a systemwide contract or Master Enabling Agreement (MEA). Links to VPAT(s) and any related accessibility resources are shown in the "Additional Information" section (if available.)
  • Search the CSU Systyemwide Digital Library Content (authentication required, must log into CSYou before going to the link) for Library Database reviewed VPAT's. The CSU reviews and posts the VPATs and Accessibility Roadmaps for campuses to use to create their EEAAP's.
  • Visit SHI's Commitment to 508 Accessibility Compliance through its Partners (authenticated login required) webpage for links to accessibility resources for many common ICT hardware and off-the-shelf software vendors.

If a vendor has not yet completed a VPAT form, purchase requesters should direct vendors to the CSU Guide to Completing the Voluntary Product Evaluation Template (VPAT). The guide includes detailed instructions about how to complete a VPAT and includes a copy of a blank VPAT form.

Submit Accessibility Documentation for Review (1c)

In this sub-step, the purchase requester sends the completed Pre-Purchase Information Form and VPAT(s) to the ATI Designee for review.