Georgia Tech Research Institute

What are the accessibility requirements of third party software that is part of another vendor's product?

A federal agency is considering purchase of Product A, which contains software from a third party vendor. What are the accessibility requirements of the third party software? How should the accessibility of the third party software be reported?

If the purchase is by a federal agency, the third party software should also demonstrate conformance with Section 508. If the third party vendor can demonstrate any conformance with Section 508, that conformance could be documented in a VPAT. It also would be acceptable for the Product A manufacturer to cover the third party software in the VPAT for Product A.

As with other products, however, the purchasing agency need only demonstrate that Product A best meets their overall needs (including the accessibility requirements). The agency, therefore, could purchase Product A, even if the third party portion is not accessible as long as Product A's overall rating is superior to the other products being considered. Also, if other comparable products are not available, the third party requirements could be exempted on the basis of commercial unavailability.