VPAT® Guide

VPAT® stands for Voluntary Product Accessibility Template. A VPAT is a document that helps procurement agents quickly assess your digital product’s accessibility.

VPATs are issued for a wide range of digital products including web products, desktop applications, software, and hardware.

What is it?

A VPAT is an overview that addresses the accessibility of a product as per the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).  As we head into 2021, most digital products will be evaluated based on WCAG 2.1 AA.

A VPAT is related to a manual accessibility audit in that an audit must be conducted to complete and accurately fill out a VPAT, but a VPAT is not an audit itself.

Rather, the table for a VPAT lists out each WCAG success criteria and includes the support level and any relevant notes for each.

The support levels are:

  • Supports
  • Partially Supports
  • Does Not Support
  • Not applicable

Accessibility Conformance Report

An Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR) is the final report generated from filling out a VPAT.  However, this term has not been picked up and even final reports are typically referred to as VPATs.

Legal Requirement

As per Section 508, a VPAT is a requirement if you want to conduct business with the Federal government or one of the government’s vendors.

Procurement

Also, VPAT requests to ensure product accessibility are rapidly becoming standard practice in the private marketplace.  Many B2B transactions hinge on whether a VPAT is provided by a vendor or seller.

Independent Agency

It is highly recommended that you hire a reputable third party that specializes in accessibility to create your VPAT.

While VPATs can be created in-house, this can be problematic as a VPAT requires expertise and experience to understand and fill out the form competently and accurately.

Moreover, in-house assessments are more likely to gloss over accessibility issues rather than detail them.

VPATs are ineffective and detrimental if they are not accurately and honestly filled out.

Services

If you would like an independent third party to fill out a VPAT for you, I recommend Essential Accessibility.

Essential Accessibility has been helping clients with accessibility for 12 years. We are here to support and guide you in providing an accurate assessment of your product’s accessibility.

If you have any questions or would like a price quote on your product’s accessibility, feel free to email me at kris@essentialaccessibility.com.