How Does a VPAT ACR Demonstrate Commitment to Accessibility?

  • 14.10.2022
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    What is a VPAT ACR?

    Understanding what “VPAT” and “ACR” mean can help you understand what a VPAT ACR is. The acronyms “VPAT” and “ACR” stand for “Voluntary Product Accessibility Template” and “Accessibility Compliance Report,” respectively. If you’re a vendor, buyer, or just interested in what goes on in the information technology and communication (ICT) domain, you’ll run into these two terms all the time.

    A VPAT is a prototype document developed by the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) in 2001 in partnership with the federal government procurement office to help businesses provide thorough analyses of how their ICT products or services adhere to the accessibility standards established by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

    The VPAT document outlines important accessibility requirements and offers vendors a structure to describe the degree of compliance and provide explanations. It makes it simpler for contracting officers and other ICT buyers to conduct initial evaluations of the available products and services.

    The filled-out VPAT document is known as a VPAT ACR. It explains in detail the standards a product or service complies with, advises customers about any accessibility issues they may run into when using the product or service, and outlines the efforts the business is making to resolve such issues.

    For many private and public organizations where Section 508 compliance and accessibility are top priorities, VPAT ACRs have emerged as essential components of the RFP processes.

    Steps toward completing a VPAT ACR

    The procedures that must be followed by a business in order to correctly complete a VPAT ACR are evidence of a business’s dedication to accessibility.

    The processes are founded on a thorough understanding of the standards that procurement authorities that read ACRs and analyze VPAT reports use to assess ACRs. The following are the steps that businesses must take to create a thorough and accurate VPAT ACR:

    1. Determining the standard needed for your ICT product or service

    The first crucial step in developing a VPAT ACR for your ICT product or service is choosing the standard to which you should align it. Understanding Section 508 and the specifics of VPAT reports is necessary for this.

    The available standards are: Section 508 VPAT, which includes Section 508 criteria and WCAG 2.0 Level AA; VPAT WCAG, which only includes WCAG criteria; VPAT EU, which also includes EN 301 549 criteria and WCAG 2.1 Level AA; and VPAT INT, which includes all the criteria in VPAT WCAG, Section 508 VPAT, and VPAT EU.

    For your ICT product or service, using the appropriate VPAT template is a crucial first step toward having an accurate and comprehensive VPAT ACR. Any VPAT ACR completed using a VPAT document that is aligned to the proper accessibility standard shows that the associated business spent time and effort creating the best template to use, showing their dedication to delivering an accurate VPAT ACR and a VPAT report that can support processes for improved accessibility.

    For additional details on selecting the VPAT template that is compatible with the accessibility standard for your good or service, get un touch with us.

    1. Doing the VPAT testing for ICT products and services

    An audit of the associated product or service is conducted before beginning a VPAT ACR in order to find any potential accessibility flaws or difficulties. VPAT auditing requires thorough knowledge of Section 508 as well as of the other accessibility criteria. It also requires an apt understanding of the technical structure of the VPAT templates associated with the different accessibility standards.

    Many businesses work with experts like ADA Compliance Pros, who not only do VPAT audits but also give clients advice on how to make their products more accessible based on their expertise developing VPAT ACRs for various clients. Utilizing internal workers is a choice some businesses make, but which frequently results in the creation of VPAT ACRs that are commonly fraught with inaccuracies and incompleteness.

    When a company decides to pay third parties to assist them in conducting VPAT testing for their ICT products and services, it shows that it is committed to accessibility and that it wants an unbiased professional to help identify any potential accessibility gaps and challenges and provide recommendations for how to address them.

    1. Regular updating of VPAT ACRs

    Businesses who are committed to accessibility are always monitoring any adjustments to the accessibility framework or their customer feedback with the aim of improving the accessibility of their products and services. They adjust their products or services quickly to resolve any accessibility issues noted, and update their VPAT ACRs accordingly.

    VPAT ACRs that are consistently recent in date suggest that the affiliated businesses make efforts to upgrade their goods and services and disclose those improvements to the public. One may argue that businesses with accessibility at the core of their business regularly do this and comply with any revisions to the accessibility regulations and standards.

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      Time taken and resources used in completing an accurate VPAT ACR

      Besides the often rigorous steps a business has to take toward creating an accurate VPAT ACR, the time taken and resources used to create an accurate VPAT ACR is testament that the business is committed to providing accurate information about its products or services so as to facilitate informed procurement decisions.

      Making well-informed purchasing decisions ensures that the procurement officials choose the products or services that will most effectively meet the accessibility expectations. Because of this, it could be argued that the organizations committed to promoting accessibility devote enough time and resources (both financial and human) to making sure that their VPAT ACRs are accurately created and frequently updated.

      Need help with VPAT testing, completion, and updating?

      You don’t have to divert your attention from the core business of your organization to master the creation of accurate VPAT ACRs. Successful organizations have been working with accessibility experts to help them ensure their products or services have accurate and complete VPATs that are making them win contracts to supply them to federal government agencies. You don’t have to grope in the dark when you can benefit from the wide experience that third-party accessibility professionals have.

      If you have any questions or need any help with VPAT testing, completions, and updating, please don’t hesitate to call us at (626) 486-2201 or send us a message by clicking here.