What Does Section 508 VPAT Mean And How Do You Get 508 VPAT Certification?

  • 15.09.2022
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Section 508

Do you feel left out when those around you discuss Section 508? Have you ever wondered what the phrase refers to or whether it applies to you? We don’t want to assume that everyone reading this post understands what the term “Section 508” means. To ensure that as many people as possible are aware of and comprehend the term, we will walk alongside everyone so that we can all be on the same page with respect to the term.

“Section 508” is short form for Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of the United States. The clause mandates that the federal government and its agencies use electronic and information technology that is accessible to people with disabilities. That includes people employed by the federal government and its agencies, as well as members of public who are living with disabilities

The purpose of enacting Section 508 was to remove obstacles in information technology and provide new opportunities for people with disabilities. Additionally, it aimed to support the creation of technologies that would help fulfill the objectives of reducing information technology barriers and providing disabled persons with new opportunities.

The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)

The term “Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)” is frequently used in conjunction with the term “Section 508.” The Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) created the VPAT in response to Section 508 in order to help buyers and vendors, as well as federal contracting officials in the United States, make initial determinations about whether electronic hardware and software complies with Section 508.

The VPAT is specifically divided into multiple sections that deal with the different functional electronic information technology sectors as envisioned under Section 508. It acts as both a requirement and specifications document. The VPAT is divided into sections, each of which is presented as a table with three columns for capturing data on criteria, supporting features, and remarks.

The Section 508 expectations for accessibility are outlined in the “criteria” column. While the “remarks” column provides an opportunity to vendors of electronic information technology to expound on how the specifications of their technologies comply with Section 508 requirements, the “supporting feature” column focuses on the features that vendors use to specify how the criteria apply to their technology.

Meaning of Section 508 VPAT

The term “Section 508 VPAT” refers to the tool used to record and show how a product or service utilizing electronic information technology complies with Section 508 of the United States Rehabilitation Act, which requires all information and communication technology (ICT) to be accessible to and useable by people with disabilities and provides standards for the same.

Although Section 508 VPAT was first created to help vendors prove their compliance with the law, it also makes it easier for buyers, such as the federal government and its agencies, to conduct market research on ICT with accessible features. If you sell ICT goods or services, such as software, hardware, electronic content, and support materials, obtaining Section 508 VPAT certification certifies that your products or services adhere to the Revised 508 Standards for information technology accessibility.

How to get Section 508 VPAT certification

There is no certification document, certification process, or certification authority that tests and attests to Section 508 compliance. To develop a precise 508 compliance VPAT to get you through the federal government’s procurement process, which frequently takes place between April and July each year, all you have to do is get in touch with an expert in 508 compliance certification. Your ability to close contracts before the end of the fiscal year for the federal government is improved by your Section 508 VPAT certification.

The ideal Section 508 VPAT certification entails creating a thorough Section 508 compliance VPAT that guarantees your ICT product can be purchased by the federal government or its agencies and the representations made about your ICT product do not subject you to potential legal action.

When it comes to obtaining Section 508 VPAT certification, you have two choices: hire a third party to conduct a manual audit on your digital property and create the document for you, or attempt to do it yourself. It won’t be a good idea to complete the certification internally if you don’t have a dedicated team that is knowledgeable about VPAT accessibility. In fact you can be penalized for attempting to fill out a VPAT and doing so incorrectly.

Whether you opt to do your VPAT certification internally or through a third party like ADA Compliance Pros, there is a need to complete an audit that determines the compliance of your product so as to generate enough data to use in creating the VPAT.

With regard to the technical requirements, functional performance, information, documentation, and support requirements, all pertinent parts of the Section 508 Standards must be met in order for a sufficient baseline of compliance to be created.

Typically, audit reports list and rank all the accessibility flaws in your product, specify how you’ll fix them, and attest to the product’s overall Section 508 compliance. Product audit reports give you helpful insights for enhancing the compliance of your product in addition to being utilized to construct the VPAT. Additionally, audit reports are escrowed for reporting requirements in the event that legal action or complaints are ever brought against your product.

Whether you decide to develop the VPAT yourself or hire a third party, be sure that the information you enter into the template goes beyond just indicating whether or not a certain accessibility criterion is satisfied. It is equally crucial to support your assertion with reasoning and accurately convey to the VPAT reviewers the capabilities of your product.

If at all possible, make sure your Section 508 VPAT is accessible by posting it online. Alternately, you might guarantee that it is accessible upon request from any of your product’s clients.

Get help more information or help with VPAT certification

You can call us at (626) 486-2201 for further details or assistance in developing a VPAT for your product, or you can use this link to get in touch with our sales staff. Once we hear from you, we’ll be able to schedule a meeting with you to go over your Section 508 VPAT requirements.

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