Getting started with accessibility

August 9, 2022

Digital Accessibility logo

Getting started with accessibility

A warm welcome to new students, and welcome back to campus for returning students, faculty, and staff! Digital Accessibility Services (DAS) supports the Harvard community in making sure that everyone has the opportunity to access the University’s knowledge, ideas, and resources, including those with disabilities. Here are some quick links to get you started or refresh your accessibility knowledge:  


Purchasing accessible technology

When we purchase or license technology from external vendors, it’s important to make sure that the vendor shares Harvard’s commitment to accessibility, and that the tools, platforms, or services they provide will be accessible to the Harvard community.  

Unfortunately, sometimes vendors will say that they're committed to accessibility without being able to show examples of their work or make commitments to accessibility in the contract. So we’ve put together a guide to help you ask the right questions and select vendors who will deliver products and services that don’t exclude anyone.  

Evaluating potential vendors

As early as possible in conversations with potential vendors, you’ll want to be clear about Harvard’s commitment to accessibility. No need to be an expert — just asking about the vendor’s approach to accessibility can begin the discussion. You can start with this list of accessibility questions for vendors.  

And if you're looking to work with a vendor to create or redesign a website, explore this guide on assessing a website vendor for accessibility.  

Including the Accessibility Rider

Harvard’s Accessibility Rider should be included in vendor contracts. By signing it, a vendor commits to upholding Harvard’s accessibility standards. This will make it much easier to address accessibility issues promptly if they arise after the product is in use. 

Where can I get help?

We’re here to help! You can email Digital Accessibility Services (DAS) to schedule an appointment, or stop by DAS office hours.


Ability+ Harvard affinity group celebrates two years 

When Erich Manser arrived at Harvard in 2019, he noticed something was missing: There was not an established group for faculty and staff centered on the disability experience. So he set about changing that.

Read the Gazette Article


Upcoming trainings and events