VPAT Testing Explained Top To Bottom
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VPAT testing is the evaluation of how accessible information and communication technology (ICT) products such as software, hardware, electronic content, and support documentation are to people with disabilities, in conformity with Section 508 Standards for ICT accessibility, and as encapsulated in the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT).
When conducting market research and evaluating bid proposals in response to government solicitations, VPATs assist federal government agency contracting officials and government buyers in assessing accessibility in ICT products and services.
Government solicitations that involve ICT products and services will usually specify the required accessibility standards for the deliverables. The accessibility requirements outlined in an RFP can be met effectively with a VPAT.
Understanding Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is necessary for undertaking the VPAT test. Legal and accessibility knowledge are also needed.
The amount of knowledge required to accurately delivering VPAT accessibility means that VPAT testing can take a long time to finish. Therefore, it is advised to begin the VPAT testing procedure as soon as feasible if your company considers receiving a contract from federal government agencies, even in the distant future. By doing this, you’ll make sure that the VPAT report is available when you need it for all of your potential partners.
The VPAT 2.4 template is available for downloading so that you may get a better understanding of what to expect while conducting a VPAT test. The next step after downloading would be to choose if the product could be tracked internally or if it is best outsourced to third-party VPAT accessibility experts.
The VPAT is created by the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC), which also makes sure that it is updated with the most recent changes to various ICT accessibility standards and recommendations. The VPAT consists of various editions that cover all three of the most important ICT accessibility standards, including WCAG, Section 508, En 301, 549, and the International (Int). On March 7th, 2020, the VPAT 2.4 template was made available for download after being improved in February 2000. The template date, edition-specific instructions, table headings, and consideration of the new version of EN 301-549 are a few of the major changes.
Due to the past confusion it caused with the VPAT report dates, the template date has been removed in the VPAT 2.4 template. While only version information is contained in the document, the template date is still present in the file.
The VPAT 2.4 template’s instructions have also been modified. For instance, the WCAG Edition is limited to the WCAG-related instructions. The links and tables of the EU and INT Editions have been updated to reflect the current version of EN 301-549, and under the tables section, a table that was missing a header in the prior edition has now been added.
The major updates in the VPAT 2.4 template are associated with EN 301:549, which reflects the new version of the standard. The other updates are relatively minor. This indicates that you should update your VPAT as soon as feasible if your ICT products are targeted at the European market.
An ICT product’s VPAT testing does not determine if the product is successful or unsuccessful. It’s a self-evaluation that might make your company stand out to a panel of prospective federal government purchasers. It entails conducting a VPAT audit and creating a VPAT ACR that appropriately reflects the product’s accessibility.
Here are some of the reasons why undertaking professional VPAT testing is important for your ICT product:
Customers may occasionally choose to avoid your product in favor of similar ones that are less accessible because of a lack of information or time to explore the product. You can avoid this by making buyers better informed about the accessibility of your product, hence, empowering them to make informed purchase decisions, if you conduct an accurate VPAT audit that yields a thorough VPAT ACR on the product.
Customers may decide to buy the product if, for instance, you are honest about the accessibility problems that a VPAT audit of the product revealed and explain how you are attempting to resolve them. Customers may value your openness and your efforts to ensure accessibility.
VPATs increase your chances of winning business bids by assisting prospects in making informed choices about your ICT products. Because bidders are now required to submit a VPAT as part of the procurement process by federal government agencies, nonprofit organizations that receive federal funding, and even private organizations dedicated to accessibility.
The existence of a VPAT, on the other hand, distinguishes your company from rivals who have not taken a similar step and shows your dedication to accessibility. A VPAT also assists your company in avoiding potential snags or obstacles because customers will be aware of the accessibility characteristics of your product.
Because of this, it is advised that if you intend to submit a bid for a federal government contract, you make sure to VPAT test your products so that your VPAT ACR is prepared when the bid solicitation is completed.
Buyers are constantly looking for reputable and trustworthy businesses to do business with. The accountability of government organizations to taxpayers makes this particularly true. One method by which companies raise their credibility and reputation is through VPAT testing and certification.
When a company’s product or service is VPAT compliant, it shows that it takes accessibility seriously and is prepared to go above and beyond to give all users of the product the best experience. In turn, this fosters consumer confidence and trust in the company’s goods and services, giving the brand a competitive edge in the market.
A company can recognize the accessibility flaws in their goods and services by going through the VPAT testing process. Businesses are able to find areas where they could make essential improvements by evaluating how well the products and services adhere to the accessibility requirements. This helps to update the product or service to make it more accessible and user-friendly.
As you can clearly see, VPAT testing is crucial for your company for a number of reasons. It raises public perception of the company’s goods and services, presents a chance for the company to raise the caliber of those goods and services, and shows legal compliance.
You can start benefitting from these by contacting us to help you with VPAT audit, the development of VPAT ACR, and other facets of VPAT testing. Click here or call (626) 486-2201 today to talk to one of our experienced VPAT accessibility experts.