Accessibility compliance is critical for all organizations, from schools to businesses and nonprofits. For a food provider, making sure you have compliant digital menus can be a daunting and time-consuming task. Knowing the right questions to ask your digital menus software provider will be the difference between worry-free compliance and having non-compliant or “almost compliant” (also non-compliant) digital menus.

Need a refresher on the ins and outs of ADA and Section 508 compliance? Check out my previous blog post, Fact or Fiction: ADA Compliance.

How do you evaluate whether you can entrust a software vendor with your own responsibilities to comply with ADA, Section 508, and other laws?

Ask these three questions to evaluate a vendor’s accessibility

QUESTION #1: What do you do to make your software accessible and compliant?

What are you looking for in their answer?

Do they mention the WCAG AA standards? (sometimes pronounced “We-Cag” / “Wu-cag”-- don’t ask me why…) If not, you should probably just walk away. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA standard has been adopted by courts in ADA cases and the Section 508 administrators -- it is THE current standard for web accessibility and compliance.

Does the Vendor speak of accessibility as something that is fundamental and core to their design and software development process? Do they refer to team members with knowledge of the rules and expertise in accessibility? If software is not built with accessibility in mind, it won’t be compliant. Software teams should address compliance as a first-class concern in their development process, guided by team members who have a clear understanding of the standards.

QUESTION #2: Do you use a 3rd party software plug-in, overlay, or automation tool to provide accessibility compliance?

What are you looking for in their answer?

If the answer is yes, be wary, even if the 3rd party solution seems legitimate or successful.

A 3rd party overlay, plug-in, or automation tool might appear to be a great solution, but should actually raise concerns about why a software company is not building accessibility natively into their own product(s), staffing and training their team with accessibility expertise, and standing behind their own work.

We have seen numerous instances where an overlay, plug-in, or automation tool cannot detect or remedy foundational accessibility issues, which require an expert human eye to get right. These shortcomings of automated tools will frustrate your users who need accessibility and result in a compliance failure under scrutiny. What happens when a company who relies on third-party tool for accessibility builds non-compliant features that the software can’t detect or remedy? 

QUESTION TO ASK #3. How will your company help us in the event of a compliance audit or a legal complaint?

What are you looking for in their answer?

Referencing a 3rd party tool or pointing to a checklist should not inspire confidence. Ask yourself what qualifies the vendor to do the heavy lifting in the event you are facing scrutiny for using their software, and whether they’re taking full responsibility for compliance. Most importantly, you should be confident that they have the expertise to build accessible software in the first place so you won’t face an audit or liability for partnering with them.

How does Nutrislice provide accessibility and compliance?

We don’t claim to know everything, but our team understands and cares about accessibility. Nutrislice builds our customer experiences from the ground up to meet the WCAG AA standards. When evaluating, building, or testing any user interface, we put ourselves in the shoes of users who need accessibility. We also incorporate feedback from expert non-profit accessibility consultants, who we work with to confirm the accessibility of our software.

We use the best software development tools available to help us develop and analyze accessibility and compliance, but we do not rely on third party software plugins, overlays, or automation tools to convey a veneer of accessibility.

In the event that a client is under scrutiny for compliance, we respond directly, quickly, and confidently to address any concerns and demonstrate compliance. We can provide detailed and up-to-date documentation, including an official Section 508 VPAT form that addresses each specific compliance criteria point by point.

Any questions? Want to chat with us about accessibility? Let us know at