Why Should You Create A VPAT For Your Product?

  • 1.08.2022
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    What is VPAT accessibility?

    VPAT accessibility, also aptly referred to as Section 508 VPAT accessibility, is about the design and development of information and communication technology in a manner that makes it accessible to, and therefore usable by, people with disabilities.

    It cultivates compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, to be more precise. Regardless of whether they are federal employees or not, Section 508 mandates that all federal government organizations design, acquire, maintain, and use information and communication technology (ICT) that is accessible to people with disabilities.

    The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)

    The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is a rubric that was originally created to serve as a tool for vendors to document the compliance of their ICT products with Section 508, as part of the process of facilitating federal government agencies in their market research on ICT with accessible features.

    As digital accessibility becomes more prominent and required, VPATs are now being used by numerous businesses, not just federal government agencies, to evaluate vendor products and services during the procurement process. A VPAT enables your business or organization to offer a thorough evaluation of your products’ compliance with the Section 508 accessibility requirements.

    VPATs do this by outlining key accessibility requirements and providing a structure for you to outline the level of compliance realized under each, as well as an opportunity for you to provide explanatory remarks.

    If solicitations for ICT products include contractual language stating that your VPAT must be accurate or legal action may be taken, you could use the section on explanatory remarks to describe the steps you are taking to address any accessibility issues in your product and avoid holding your company or organization liable.

    The VPAT process is complicated. Let us handle it for you.

      Why you should create a Section 508 VPAT

      Here are some of the reasons why you should create a Section 508 VPAT for your ICT product:

      1. Help buyers of your product make informed decisions

      When you create a VPAT for your ICT product, you help buyers of the product make informed decisions before purchasing the product. Whereas the completed VPAT is not an official accessibility compliance certification, it is an insightful guide to technology users and vendors regarding how accessible your product is and the areas where it could be improved.

      VPAT certification specifically facilitates buyers and vendors in understanding the level of accessibility attributable to a product, comparing the compliance of comparable products, selecting the product that best satisfies the accessibility standards and the functional and legal requirements of their organization, and planning for equally effective access in the absence of an accessible product.

      2. Demonstration that your business cares accessibility

      By developing VPATs for your products, you demonstrate to current and prospective customers that your business cares about accessibility and works to make sure that its products can be used and are accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities.

      Since VPAT accessibility reports explain accessibility compliance, it has been said that they help the associated products to sell more. That is because customers can quickly determine whether your product meets their demands when you establish a VPAT for it. This saves you time that could be utilized to close other business agreements and allows you to focus on other tasks.

      3. Avoidance of losing money

      If your product has the appropriate VPAT certification, it qualifies to be used by any business or organization, including those that get direct or indirect funding from the federal government. This implies that there’s a risk your company is losing money as a result of not having a VPAT.

      4. Education or awareness for employees

      Internally, the development of a VPAT may assist you in educating or raising awareness of Section 508 VPAT accessibility among your company or organization’s employees. That provides a mechanism for impetus toward continually striving to make your product superior and accessible to everyone.

      5. Identification of critical accessibility issues

      Businesses or organizations include every feature their product has or doesn’t have while creating a VPAT for the product. That becomes a self-auditing process as it becomes very easy to spot any accessibility issues associated with your product.

      If you choose to engage experts like ADA Compliance Pros to help you create the VPAT for your product, you may benefit from the percentage calculation of your product’s accessibility compliance. You can also be provided with suggestions about the features you must add to or remove from the product.

      6. Tailored product development services

      You will learn about the features required to make your product accessible through the VPAT creation process. This procedure might also assist you in identifying the areas that require a precise focus and specialist assistance from product development professionals. As a result, you can speed up product development and increase its profitability.

      7. It makes business sense

      Given the scale of the global market for items marketed to persons with disabilities, developing a VPAT for your offerings makes a lot of commercial sense. According to estimates, ensuring a product’s accessibility improves its consumer base by 20%.

      The creation of VPATs also encourages you to improve your products’ accessibility features, which, in turn, helps them to achieve better SEO rankings during online marketing. Accessible products are usually pushed upwards in Google rankings, which increases your brand’s visibility over the Internet. More visibility due to upward rankings ultimately leads to more business conversions, revenues, and profits.

      8. Avoidance of accessibility litigation and penalties

      Creating a VPAT for your product could help you detect and remedy accessibility issues that could result in lawsuits being filed against you and your business. Big names have suffered on account of lacking a VPAT. They include Netflix, who got into trouble in 2012 when the National Association of the Deaf sued them over VPAT accessibility issues.

      9. Building of trust and reputation

      Your company or organization will profit much from developing a VPAT for each of its products. The benefits will be in terms of financial gains as well as the development of trust and reputation. That is why making a VPAT document for each of your technology products is incredibly helpful.

      Get expert help to create your VPAT

      If you are looking for an experienced professional to author a VPAT for your product, reach out to us by clicking here or calling us at (626) 486-2201.