What does Section 508 VPAT mean and How to get 508 Compliance Certification?
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What does Section 508 VPAT mean and How to get 508 Compliance Certification?

Posted By adacompliancepros adacompliancepros     November 29, 2021    

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To strengthen the civil rights of people with disabilities, the federal government has enacted several game changing laws, like the Americans Disabilities Act (ADA), Rehabilitation Act and Communications Act. Definition of all these laws focuses on preventing discrimination against an individual due to their disabilities. The standards addressed in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act cover accessibility guidelines for Information and communication technology (ICT) products. Regardless of the nature of your services and product offerings, it is important to have a 508 compliance certification. In this post, we will discuss, what kind of difference the compliance certification can mean to your business and how to get one.

 

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What is a Section 508 VPAT?

VPAT stands for Voluntary Product Accessibility Template. The template can be considered as a public statement, declaring your adherence to the standards of ICT accessibility as defined in Section 508. According to the guidelines, the accessibility and usability by the disabled individuals are ensured for a wide variety of products and services, such as computers, websites, software, distance learning portals, information kiosks, multifunction office machines and operating systems used in mobiles, laptops and tablets. To ensure the compliant functioning of your ICT offerings, you need to make sure to check your website to ensure it meets Section 508 VPAT requirements.

 

What are its benefits?

Attaining the 508 Compliance Certification acts as a public declaration that your products and offerings are easily accessible by people with cognitive, sensory and physical disabilities. Getting a VPAT is necessary for businessesthat have anything to do with computers, websites or mobile apps. Needless to say, almost all businesses are inclined to have a digital presence, thus ignoring VPAT compliance can compromise the reach of your business, impact sales and leave your business exposed for an ADA lawsuit. 

 

Basically, Section 508 VPAT is an accessibility program for federal agencies but such standards are also impactful for private sector organizations as well. Whether or not you are dealing with a federal worker, you need to understand the importance of VPAT certification.

  • Focusing on accessibility compliance prevents you from the risk of expensive lawsuits.
  • Sharing your accessibility standards helps your vendors narrow down their search by comparing compliant and non-compliant options.
  • It instils trust in your potential buyers and eventually results in profitable growth.

 

How to get a 508 compliance certification?

The VPAT template is maintained by the Information Technology Industry Council (ICIT). Anyone can download the template from their official website, fill up the required details and get a certification. But filling inadequate or false information may lead to serious consequences. So, it is always a good idea to seek help from professionals.

 

To prevent the chances of legal recourse, it is best to hire VPAT experts. They will determine your compliance standards by conducting an audit of your ICT offerings. Now the standards are synchronized with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), so it would require adequate knowledge of the accessibility standards and pitfalls in your products. Rather than handling the VPAT reporting inhouse, you should consult compliance experts who can conduct an audit, address the issues and document the accessibility levels honestly and accurately. 

 

Bottom line

To steer clear of the risk of lawsuits, every business entity is trying to meet the best accessibility standards. So if you want to be the first choice for vendors or consumers, getting VPAT compliance certification is important. To get more information on the audit and documentation process for Section 508 compliance certification, visit the link given below.

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