Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

Lowest Bid Policy Ensures Lack Of Accessibility?

I wonder if companies and government departments’ requirement to go for the lowest bid aren’t a setup for failure when it comes to website accessibility?

@kaupapa said:

Latest publicly funded grey-text-on-grey background design triumph http://www.msi.govt.nz #accessfail #muppets

At about the same time I received an email from a mate who is a designer. They had just been informed that their bid to work on a Québec government department website had been rejected because their rules forced them to accept the lowest bid.

This reminds me of an Alan Shepard quote:

It’s a very sobering feeling to be up in space and realize that one’s safety factor was determined by the lowest bidder on a government contract.

I imagine that when a bid is being looked at, price is not the only determining factor – or at least I hope so. But I can easily see how it could be.

Too often outfits who give low bids are only interested in complying to the minimum requirements. They are not interested in spending that little bit extra. But of course, accessibility should be a minimum requirement!

Do designers who know they aren’t going to present the lowest bid present "value added" in their bid? Would a statement to the effect that the site will be accessible and allow the client to meet XYZ policy or legal requirement on access make a difference to the success of the bid?

3 thoughts on “Lowest Bid Policy Ensures Lack Of Accessibility?

  1. To be fair, NZ Govt agencies are not required to accept the lowest bid, although price will always be a factor. I was never involved in a procurement process that did take the lowest bid. NZG procurement “rule” are around ‘fit for purpose’ and ‘best value for money’.

  2. I agree about the lowest bid. But lip service is paid to accessibility, which is seen purely as standards. My frustration with the site mentioned is that it costs no less to have grey text than any other colour. Its all about design and branding and to hell with the user!

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