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Business Sense

A Roadmap for Buying Accessible Tech for Your Workplace

It's an all too frequent scenario—a company builds a website or purchases a new technology application, implements it, pays for it, and then learns that some employees or customers with disabilities cannot use it because it's inaccessible. Then, they're faced with making costly retroactive fixes to ensure it's usable by everyone.

While these kinds of accessibility missteps are typically unintentional, they can easily be avoided. And now, there's a free online tool to guide businesses in procuring accessible information technology (IT)—Buy IT: Your Guide for Purchasing Accessible Technology.

The tool was recently launched by the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT), an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. Featuring background and sample language, Buy IT offers step-by-step guidance on researching IT vendors, specifying accessibility requirements in Requests for Proposals (RFPs), and validating the accessibility of product choices. By helping businesses buy and implement technology that works for everyone, Buy IT reduces technology-related barriers many employees, job seekers and customers with disabilities face, which, by extension, is also good for their bottom line.

Giving your current and prospective workers equal access to technology tools helps employees thrive on the job. Of course, implementing accessible technology means buying it in the first place, and Buy IT can demystify the process.

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