Facts About a VPAT

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Facts About a VPAT

Posted By adacompliancepros adacompliancepros     June 15, 2022    


How a VPAT came about

VPATs were created about twenty years old. It is the brainchild of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).  The VPAT was developed specifically to assist vendors of electronic and information and communication technology (ICT) products and services in providing Section 508 compliance supporting documentation.



How a VPAT helps you and the buyers of your products and services

A VPAT report can assist you in creating an Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR). A completed ACR contains important information about how your products or services meet Section 508 accessibility standards.


A VPAT assists buyers in determining how accessible a product or service is and where any potential flaws may exist. Before making a purchase, some buyers require a 508 compliance VPAT.


Is a VPAT mandatory?

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires the federal government and its agencies to make information and communication technology (ICT) accessible to people with disabilities. If your ICT company wants to do business with the federal government or any of its agencies, you must provide a VPAT.


This means that, while it is entirely your choice whether or not to provide a VPAT, failing to do so denies you the opportunity to do business with the federal government, its agencies, and the entities that it funds.


How do you get a VPAT?

You get a VPAT by following the following steps:

  • Conduct a VPAT audit. This will generate a VPAT ACR with a checklist of remediations to assist you in improving the accessibility and compliance of your digital assets with Section 508 accessibility standards.


  • Completing a VPAT. This is a complicated document that necessitates technical and specific analysis. It is best to delegate this critical task to an accessibility standards expert. Some completed VPATs can be thousands of pages long, which is why you need professional assistance. It is important to note that an incomplete or inaccurate VPAT may cost you a successful bid if it does not meet the requirements of the proposal. Having an expert, such as ADA Compliance Pros, complete your VPAT ensures that it contains all of the required elements.


  • Maintain your integrity. Maintain your documents by keeping them up to date, accurate, and truthful. Learn about the standardized process for dealing with changes, improvements, and accuracy testing.


  • Make the VPAT public. Once you've determined that your VPAT document is accurate and truthful, post it on your website or make it available to anyone who requests it. When you hear someone ask, "What exactly is VPAT accessibility?" This is exactly what I mean. Making the VPAT you've created available so that buyers can make informed decisions about the ICT products and services you provide.


Best practices for VPAT authoring

It is usually a good idea to provide a separate VPAT for your product documentation and support services, followed by consistent references.


Include branding, report date changes, and revision explanations, share the evaluation methods used, provide legal disclaimers, table the WCAG criteria used, and post the final VPAT document on your website or another appropriate location where buyers requiring it can access it.


Identifying which assistive technologies were used to determine accessibility is also a best practice in VPAT authoring. This informs buyers about the best tools to use with the product, which is especially important if concerns arise later when different tools are used.


Interpreting a VPAT 

Reading and interpreting a VPAT can be very challenging. That is because VPAT authors: 

  • Use technical specifications language. 
  • Make use of complex federal government and EU codes, as well as international accessibility guidelines. 
  • List and explain accessibility principles that buyers may not be aware of. 
  • May use various versions of the VPAT.


You can get a glimpse of what a VPAT looks like by clicking here to see an example of a VPAT. It includes, among other things, a summary of the VPAT product details, applicable standards/guidelines, and accessibility conformance report (ACR) tables.


The summary provides general information about the product or service as well as the VPAT in a concise manner. This includes the product or service name, the VPAT date, contact information, the evaluation methods used, notes, and any additional information.


The applicable standards and guidelines section lists the standards and guidelines that were used in the product's development. They frequently use the terms WCAG 2.0, Section 508, and EN 301-549. When developing the product or service, WCAG 2.0 conformance levels may also be included. A, AA, and AAA are the three levels of conformance.


The VPAT ACR is typically a table or set of tables that lists each of the product's success criteria. It is typically organized around the WCAG principles of perceivability, operability, understandability, and robustness (POUR).


Get expert help with your VPAT

Looking for clarification concerning whether you require a What is VPAT accessibility for your business or organization? Click here for help. ADA Compliance Pros will be happy to help you and, if necessary, support you to move forward in pursuing VPAT documentation. Contact them at (626) 486-2201 today.