For Federal buyers, the short answer is because it is required by the FAR.
Recently we received a comment that suggested using social media to help with market research. While this is a unique way to find out about current state of EIT products and services it does not meet the requirements of the FAR for Market Research.
Remember that as a Federal buyer, you are responsible for the compliance of EIT product and services regarding Section 508 conformance which includes evaluation and testing.
FAR Subpart 39.2 Part 10.000(a)(3)(vii) states that agencies must use the results of market research to assess the availability of electronic and information technology that meets all or part of the applicable accessibility standards issued by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board at 36 CFR Part 1194.
We have developed tools to assist with your Market Research responsibilities. Guidance on Conducting Accessibility Market Research, contains some excellent tips and techniques. We also have the Accessibility Resource Center, which is an alphabetical listing of vendors with links to their accessibility information. This information combined with the Buy Accessible Wizard tool (www.buyaccessible.gov) or the QuickLinks will fulfill your Section 508 due diligence requirements.
Remember it’s your responsibility as a Federal buyer to make sure you procure EIT that is accessible to persons with disabilities. The ramification if you don’t purchase accessible EIT is that your organization may get a lawsuit for non compliance.
For more information you may also contact your agency Section 508 Coordinator at www.section508.gov