As a part of an organization’s digital transformation strategy, software is often needed to fulfill certain tasks.
To ensure the software chosen for your business meets the accessibility requirements dictated by law, you must understand what a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) is and why it is so valuable.
A VPAT is essentially a self-assessment document completed by the vendor who sells or creates digital products or services such as websites, mobile apps, PDF documents, etc.
In this long blog post, we will further explore what exactly this template entails and provide five reasons why organizations need to be familiar with and use VPATs in their procurement decisions.
What is VPAT and its purpose
VPAT, or Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, is a document that outlines how technology products meet accessibility standards.
It is an important tool for companies that want to ensure their products are usable by everyone, regardless of any disabilities they may have.
The purpose of a VPAT is to provide transparency about a product's accessibility features, allowing potential customers to make informed decisions about whether it meets their needs.
By completing a VPAT, companies can demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, and help make technology products more accessible for everyone.
Also, by understanding VPAT compliance requirements, organizations can ensure that their technology purchases meet or exceed the accessibility standards for their market.
This is especially important for those who are subject to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, or any other accessibility laws.
The importance of a VPAT in software development
Creating software that is accessible to all individuals is crucial in today’s ever-evolving technological climate. This is where a VPAT, or Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, comes in.
A VPAT is an evaluation tool that determines a software’s level of accessibility based on criteria set forth by industry standards.
It outlines how software products address the needs of individuals with disabilities, allowing developers to make necessary changes to ensure their software is inclusive.
By implementing VPATs in the development process, companies can ensure they are creating software that is accessible to all individuals, regardless of any disabilities they may have. In short, a VPAT is a vital tool for any software developer looking to create an inclusive product.
What information a VPAT contains
If you've ever wondered about the accessibility of a software product, you might have come across the acronym VPAT.
But what does a VPAT contain? A Voluntary Product Accessibility Template is a document that outlines how accessible a product is for individuals with disabilities.
It breaks down the accessibility features in the product and compares them to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
This way, companies can ensure their product is inclusive and accessible to everyone. Whether you're a buyer or a developer, understanding what information a VPAT contains can help you make informed decisions about the accessibility of a product.
How a VPAT can be used to ensure accessibility standards are met
In today's digital age, accessibility is more important than ever. Many companies are beginning to realize their obligation to ensure that their products and services are accessible to everybody, regardless of ability.
To achieve this, they are turning to a document known as a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template).
A VPAT is essentially a document that outlines the accessibility standards of a particular product or service. It can be used by both vendors and customers to ensure that accessibility requirements are being met.
By providing transparency and clarity, a VPAT can help to ensure that everybody has equal access to technology and services, making the world a more inclusive place.
The cost-benefit of creating and maintaining a VPAT
On one hand, having a VPAT can show customers and clients that a company is committed to accessibility, which can lead to increased business and a positive reputation.
Additionally, creating and maintaining a VPAT can help a company identify potential accessibility barriers in their products or services, leading to improvements that benefit all users.
However, the process of creating and maintaining a VPAT can be time-consuming and costly, and there may not always be a clear return on investment. Companies must carefully consider their priorities and resources before deciding to invest in a VPAT.
Types of accessibility standards the VPAT covers
Accessibility is an important aspect of any modern product, especially in our increasingly inclusive world. This is where VPAT, or Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, comes into play.
It enables manufacturers and vendors to create a comprehensive overview of their product's accessibility features, outlining all the relevant criteria and standards.
Now, the VPAT covers a vast range of accessibility standards, including visual, auditory, motor, cognitive, and speech impairments.
With the VPAT, there is no excuse for any organization to neglect the needs of differently-abled individuals. All the guidelines in the VPAT are designed to make sure that people with disabilities get the best and most accessible user experience possible with every product they use.
Benefits of having a VPAT in place
A VPAT, or Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, is a valuable resource for any company that wants to ensure that its products are accessible to all users, regardless of ability.
By having a VPAT in place, companies can demonstrate their commitment to accessibility and inclusivity, while also helping to identify areas where their products may need improvement.
This not only benefits those with disabilities, but also helps companies to avoid potential legal issues and improve customer satisfaction.
By taking the time to put a VPAT in place, companies can ensure that their products are accessible to all, while also gaining a competitive advantage in an increasingly diverse marketplace.
Guidelines for creating an effective VPAT
Creating an effective Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is critical if you want to ensure that your product or service is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities.
To begin with, it is essential to understand the relevant standards, legislation, and regulations that guide accessibility, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
You should then take a systematic approach to evaluating your product or service against these standards, identifying areas where limitations or barriers to accessibility exist.
Finally, it is vital to provide clear, concise, and detailed information in your VPAT, so that potential clients or users can understand the level of accessibility your product provides.
By following these guidelines, you can create a VPAT that is both comprehensive and effective in demonstrating your commitment to accessibility.
Different sections included in a VPAT document
A Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is an important document used to evaluate the accessibility of a product or service.
A VPAT report usually consists of different sections, each focusing on specific aspects.
One section may cover the product's compatibility with various assistive technologies while another may focus on the product's compliance with specific accessibility laws and regulations.
The VPAT document is especially important for organizations that serve individuals with disabilities and rely on accessible products and services to ensure inclusion and accessibility for all.
By including various sections in the VPAT report, vendors can provide a comprehensive and detailed evaluation of their products' accessibility, making it easier for users to make informed decisions.
Who writes a VPAT?
When it comes to creating a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT), you may be wondering who exactly is responsible for writing it. The answer is, well, it depends!
Generally, the company who produces the product or service is responsible for creating the VPAT.
They must complete the document in order to comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which mandates accessibility for people with disabilities in the federal government and federally funded institutions.
However, in some cases, an independent accessibility consultant may be brought in to create the VPAT on behalf of the company.
Regardless of who writes it, the VPAT provides important information about a product's accessibility features that is helpful for people with disabilities and those who support them.
How long does it take to get a VPAT?
The timeline for creating a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) depends on the complexity of the product or service being evaluated.
Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on how thorough and detailed your evaluation is.
Companies who contract an independent accessibility consultant may find that their VPAT is completed more quickly than if they tackle the project on their own.
Either way, it is highly recommended that companies invest the necessary time and resources to create a comprehensive VPAT, as this will demonstrate their commitment to accessibility and ensure that their products are usable by all individuals, regardless of ability level.
For example, the VPAT may include information on available screen reader and keyboard shortcuts, as well as any other accessibility features that are included with the product. This will ensure that individuals with disabilities can use the product without issue or difficulty.
What is the difference between a VPAT and ACR?
The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) and the Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR) are both used to evaluate the accessibility of a product or service.
However, there is one key difference between them. While the VPAT focuses on how well a product meets certain accessibility criteria, the ACR evaluates whether or not a product actually meets the criteria set out in the VPAT.
In other words, the ACR is a detailed report that verifies and validates the information included in a VPAT to ensure that it is accurate.
The ACR can also provide useful feedback to organizations on how they can further improve their products' accessibility features and make them more user-friendly and inclusive for all individuals, regardless of ability level.
Ultimately, both a VPAT and an ACR are important tools that allow organizations to evaluate the accessibility of their products or services and make sure they are accessible to everyone.
Who is responsible for accessibility testing?
When it comes to accessibility testing, the responsibility typically falls on the organization that produces the product or service being evaluated.
It is important for organizations to take necessary steps to ensure their products are accessible and usable by all individuals, regardless of disability status.
This includes conducting accessibility testing in accordance with established standards such as WCAG 2.1 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
However, as with VPAT creation, organizations may also choose to hire an independent accessibility consultant to handle their accessibility testing in order to ensure accuracy and compliance with all applicable standards.
Ultimately, it is important for companies to prioritize accessibility by investing the necessary time and resources into testing their products or services in order to make them more inclusive and accessible for everyone.
The history of VPATs
The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is a document that was created in 1998 by the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI).
The VPAT was designed to help organizations evaluate the accessibility of their products or services and ensure they are usable by those with disabilities.
Since its creation, the VPAT has become an industry standard, and is required by many companies when they contract with other businesses.
The VPAT is continually being updated to reflect the latest accessibility standards, such as WCAG 2.1 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which helps organizations ensure their products remain compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.
Overall, the VPAT has become an invaluable tool that allows organizations to make sure their products are accessible and usable by all individuals, regardless of ability level.
In conclusion, VPATs are an invaluable tool for developers and customers alike. They allow companies to ensure their products are accessible and compliant with industry standards, while also giving customers the transparency they need to make informed decisions.
Although there may be a cost associated with creating and maintaining a VPAT, the benefits far outweigh any potential risks.
By leveraging VPATs, companies can create an inclusive environment for all users and build a positive reputation with their customers. Ultimately, VPATs are a key part of building an accessible world for everyone.