How Long Does It Take To Complete a VPAT?
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Prior to delving into understanding how long it takes to complete a VPAT, it helps to brush through what a VPAT is and its essence. The term “VPAT” is now a household word in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector pursuant to the revision of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act by the US Congress.
VPAT is an acronym for Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, which refers to the document that helps a business or organization to make self-disclosures about how their ICT products and services, including electronic content, software, hardware, and ICT support documentation, conform to the VPAT accessibility standards as outlined in the Revised Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
The Revised Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires the federal government to acquire, produce, use, and maintain ICT that is accessible to people with disabilities, whether or not they work for the government. You can ensure conformity with the enhancements made toward addressing the broad VPAT accessibility concerns that have been raised thus far by using an updated Section 508 Checklist, which includes reporting compliance requirements, public procurement of goods and services, and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
A VPAT assists you to accurately capture all of these factors as well as other related issues, which helps to ensure that your ICT product or service passes any 508 compliance checker that it may be subjected to. This is important because you never know who is subjecting your ICT product or service to VPAT accessibility tests. They could be serial litigants that are checking for non-conformance issues so as to file lawsuits against you.
When completing a VPAT, keep in mind that some discreet 508 compliance checker may investigate the product or service for a variety of reasons, including requiring you to pay high legal fees if non-conformance with VPAT accessibility is detected. You should also consider the VPAT’s importance in informing people, including current and prospective customers, as well as VPAT monitors, about your ICT product’s or service’s conformance with the Section 508 checklist for enhanced accessibility of products and services for people with disabilities.
Because of their experience with completing statutory documents, many people view the completion of VPATs with wariness. In fact, this may not be far from the truth with the completion of a VPAT. For first-timers or people whose core functions do not include reading through and completing compliance documents, completing a VPAT can be a monumental task, which is why knowing how long you should expect it to take when completing one is important as this knowledge will assist you to make informed decisions such if it takes longer than anticipated, you can contact VPAT accessibility service providers like ADA Compliance Pros to assist you with the completion.
The length of time it takes to complete your VPAT is determined by a number of factors, including the level of detail you want the VPAT to capture, the nature of the ICT product or service for which the VPAT is being completed, the amount of time you have to submit the VPAT in response to a call for submission of interests in procurement bids, and the expertise of the people completing the VPAT for you. The duration it takes for a VPAT to be completed is also determined by a vendor’s level of cooperation or reluctance about releasing proprietary information about their products or services. Some vendors may also be worried about not knowing enough about VPAT accessibility requirements and will either not fill the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template correctly, or will simply be intimidated by the entire process and rush through it to finish.
Some vendors may take a short time to complete a VPAT, perhaps because the VPAT describes an outdated version of their product or service, or sometimes the vendor could simply be reluctant to be overly forthcoming about the accessibility problems with their ICT product or service. In such cases, they may either take a short time to complete the VPAT in order to go through the ritual, or they may spend unnecessarily more time pondering which part of the VPAT harms their reputation, products or services, or affects costs and sales.
Other factors that influence the length of time it takes to complete a VPAT include the 508 compliance checker or method used to determine the VPAT accessibility for the product or service, as well as whether or not the vendor works with independent VPAT accessibility experts who understand the criteria for the various accessibility standards.
It may take longer to complete a VPAT if the VPAT points in the wrong direction during completion, indicating that the product or service being tested does not meet the technical requirements for VPAT accessibility. This may necessitate further evaluation of how serious the identified issues are and how they can be resolved in order to protect the product’s or service’s reputation while not jeopardizing sales. During the 508 compliance checker, for example, it may be discovered that a drop-down menu on a website is not accessible using only the keyboard. As a workaround, this will force the completion of the associated VPAT in order to obtain another way to make the menus conform more to the VPAT.
In general, some ICT products and/or services are subjected to more extensive VPAT accessibility testing than others. Because of the stakes that this presents to their businesses, some vendors choose to be thorough in their VPAT completion, which causes the completion of their VPATs to take longer and be more impactful. High-impact websites, web applications, and software, for example, typically undergo VPAT accessibility testing that is extensive and time-consuming due to the high stakes involved, including the number of people expected to access or use them.
Depending on your circumstances based on the aforementioned underlying factors, you can either complete or have independent VPAT accessibility experts help you complete your VPAT within a period of one to three weeks.
Working with independent VPAT accessibility experts who have experience completing VPATs can significantly reduce the time it takes to complete a VPAT. These experts can assist you in planning the VPAT accessibility test for your product or service and using a dependable 508 compliance checker that will instill confidence in the people who will be relying on the VPAT to decide whether or not to purchase the product or service.
Contact us to get independent VPAT accessibility help as well as support in completing your VPAT today!