What is a VPAT and What Kind of Information is in a VPAT Report?
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A VPAT, or Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, is a generic template that enables businesses or organizations to provide a thorough analysis of their accessibility standards as defined by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
The VPAT document concisely outlines the key accessibility requirements for electronic and information technology (EIT) products and services and provides a structure for EIT product or service developers or vendors to outline the level of compliance the products or services conform to, as well as the relevant explanatory notes.
VPATs make it easier for federal government buyers and contracting officials, as well as private organizations where accessibility and, by extension, Section 508 compliance are a priority, to make preliminary assessments on EIT products and service offerings.
When you finish filling out the VPAT document with information about each of your EIT products and services, you will have a VPAT report for the product or service. You will come across the term “Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR)” as you interact with the various terms used in the VPAT accessibility discourse.
The VPAT document, which, as previously stated, is a generic document template, provides guidance when completing the ACR for an EIT product or service. Many people use the term VPAT to refer to both the trademarked generic template and the VPAT they completed to describe the accessibility of their EIT product or service. This frequently leads to misunderstandings.
A better approach would be to refer to the generic VPAT document as VPAT, and the final report or document generated using guidance from the generic VPAT document as VPAT report or ACR.
Each EIT product or service has its own ACR. It gives a brief description of how the product or service fully or partially meets the VPAT accessibility requirements outlined in the underlying accessibility standards. It also describes the evaluation methods used by the EIT product or service provider to validate conformance to the Revised 508 Standards, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), or the European Union guidelines EN 301-549.
If you make VPAT accessibility a standard in your business, it will help you review digital materials and technologies because of the following:
If you intend to rely on a VPAT as your source of information about the accessibility of an EIT product or service, keep the following in mind:
Here is the kind of information you can expect in the generic VPAT for guidance toward developing a VPAT report:
The VPAT summary will require information about the general details of the EIT product or service, as well as the VPAT report. This includes the following:
The applicable standards and/or guidelines information highlights the standards and/or guidelines that were used to develop the VPAT report. This relates to:
Some vendors also include the WCAG levels of conformance used during product development. The conformance levels are A, AA, and AAA.
The success criteria in the VPAT report’s ACR tables are organized around the four WCAG principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. The tables are divided into three columns: information about the success criteria, conformance level (supports, partially supports, does not support, and not applicable), and remarks and explanations.
The ACR tables provide information to answer accessibility conformance in relation to Revised Section 508, specifically software and support documentation (Chapters 5 and 6); EN 301, 549 Standard issues – Web (Chapter 9), non-web (Chapter 10), software (Chapter 11), documentation and support services (Chapter 12); and selected levels of WCAG 2.x guidelines.
A VPAT example is the best way to gain insight into a VPAT report and the information contained within it.
If you need trusted professionals to help you with your VPAT, ADA Compliance Pros are ready to help. You can access us by clicking this link or calling (626) 486-2201 now.