What Is A VPAT?
The voluntary product accessibility template, or VPAT, is a standard form created by the information technology industry council (ITI) in collaboration with the general services administration (GSA) of the United States. A vendor of electronic, informational, and technological (EIT) products can complete it to show how closely those products adhere to Section 508 and other related accessibility standards.
The Section 508 requirements served as the foundation for the initial VPAT. The web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) have been included in more recent versions of the template, though, in addition to other standards such as those used in international markets.
What You Need To Know About Vpats And Acrs
Here is what you need to know about VPATs and ACRs:
1. Why Vpats And Acrs?
According to Section 508, any EIT products created, acquired, maintained, or used by U.S. federal government agencies must adhere to specific accessibility criteria.Therefore, EIT suppliers must produce an accurate VPAT in order to properly market their EIT products to federal government agencies and the institutions funded by the federal government.
The VPAT report that follows the completion of a VPAT is known as the Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR). Federal and state agency procurement officials, as well as EIT product buyers from federally sponsored institutions use the ACR to evaluate the accessibility of EIT products.
Therefore, based on the stated accessibility status of the EIT product, an appropriately completed ACR assists consumers of the EIT product to make a preliminary assessment of the product’s conformity to Section 508 and its accompanying standards.
2. VPAT Editions
The four VPAT editions that are now available are VPAT 2.4 508, VPAT 2.4 WCAG, VPAT 2.4 EU, and VPAT INT. VPAT 2.4 508 is the edition based on the Revised Section 508 Standards. WCAG 2.0 and the various chapters of Section 508 are both included in this version of the VPAT.
While VPAT 2.4 EU is the VPAT version used for reporting conformity based on EN 301 549 requirements in addition to WCAG 2.0, WCAG 2.1, or ISO/IEC 40500, VPAT 2.4 WCAG is the VPAT edition used for reporting conformance based on WCAG 2.0 or WCAG 2.1 standards. The VPAT 2.4 508, VPAT 2.4 WCAG, and VPAT 2.4 EU editions are all included in the VPAT INT version. The selection of which VPAT version to utilize is typically influenced by the needs of your customers.
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3. Factors To Consider When Preparing A VPAT
In addition to protecting your company from any Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuits, creating a VPAT for your EIT product expands your product’s market prospects. You should take into account the following to maximize the advantages of having an accurate VPAT for your EIT products:
- The primary market for the product.
- Whether the product includes hardware or non-web software.
- The import of mobile web and mobile app accessibility to your customers.
- Whether you intent to sell the product internationally.
- Review a VPAT example developed by renowned VPAT and ACR experts.
Your product’s VPAT passing score should be determined by how well it complies with Section 508 criteria if the U.S. market is its main market. That is because federal contracts often require the VPAT 508 edition for creating an ACR.
Section 508 requires that WCAG 2.1 Level AA be used as part of the VPAT passing score for EIT products procurable by federal agencies and institutions receiving federal funding.
There are separate chapters in the Section 508 VPAT version for hardware, software, and support documentation services. Therefore, if your product incorporates hardware or non-web software, you should use this template.
Consider using the VPAT WCAG editionif the market for your product includes sectors like higher education that are interested in mobile web and mobile app accessibility. The WCAG 2.1 Level AA guidelines will therefore underpin your VPAT passing score in this case.
Keep in mind the necessity of adhering to international standards if you want your product to be sold globally. To ensure accessibility compliance in this regard, you can create an ACR based on an international standard VPAT passing score as incorporated in the single VPAT template provided by the VPAT INT edition.
4. Learn From A Successful VPAT Document Example
Successful companies don’t reinvent the wheel; instead, they study best practices. You can learn from a VPAT example given by a top expert in VPAT preparation. Since creating an appropriate VPAT requires careful consideration of the edition to use as well as the technical information to provide about your product, this VPAT example is a great starting point.
Need Help With Preparing A VPAT?
I’ve taken part in procurement processes and studied how successful companies select their VPAT versions and create their winning ACRs.What I have learned is that the majority of these companies received assistance from ADA Compliance Pros, who are known for producing incredibly precise VPAT ACRs. By visiting here or contacting (626) 486-2201, you may get information from them about how to select the VPAT edition that is suitable for your product as well as how to create an accurate ACR.