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Struggling to write your VPAT? Not sure about the right way to disclose your adherence to Section 508 guidelines? Are you confused about the multiple revisions that VPATs have undergone in the past couple of years? You are not alone. This article will help explain things and (hopefully) improve your understanding of what is required and what can be done to improve your digital accessibility.

Voluntary Product Accessibility Template is a document used by vendors to declare their level of accessibility compliance with explanatory remarks. However, modelling the VPAT certification is not everyone’s cup of tea. Considering the never-ending revisions and corrections in VPAT, your ACR (Accessibility Conformance Report) can keep getting outdated. To prevent the risk of legal recourse, one has to update the ACR every 12 to 16 months. It should be done with the utmost diligence so that any newly launched features of the products are compliant with the legal guidelines.

What is a VPAT?

VPAT Compliance helps product developers or vendors voluntarily disclose their level of compliance to accessibility guidelines. The compliance reports help vendors quickly evaluate a business and its offerings. A VPAT defines the guidelines mentioned in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which is a disability law. However, VPAT versions are frequently updated to match with the provisions and standards determined by other accessibility laws.

The current version is VPAT 2.4 which incorporates the guidelines discussed in Section 508,  WCAG 2.1 (a framework to depict compliance to the ADA) and the EN 301 549 V2. 1.2 (an accessibility standard for Information and Communication Technology).

VPAT is used by businesses instrumental in developing products like computer software, hardware, electronic documentation, and remote communication.

What does a VPAT look like?

A VPAT is a template that is filled in to generate the ACR. Usually, a VPAT includes the product name, VPAT date, information of the vendor, methods used for a compliance evaluation, explanatory remarks and additional details. To generate the ACR, one needs to mention the details about the success criteria, compliance levels and detailed remarks to justify the level of compliance achieved. The accessibility guidelines practiced by the legal authorities are subject to technology changes, so is the VPAT. Therefore, it is important to keep updating the VPAT and showcase your accountability.

How to write an accurate VPAT?

A VPAT accessibility report determines your compliance with several disability laws. To get your hands on the best practices to fill up the VPAT template, you need to be well aware of the latest updates and corrections made in the guidelines and accessibility framework. Therefore it is important to hire the most competent team possible to accurately represent your conformance. Rather than creating liabilities by uploading a false representation of your conformance, hire the accessibility experts who are well-versed in the evaluation methods best suited to your business needs.

Want to learn more about modelling a VPAT?

Getting a VPAT certification helps you to be the first choice for vendors who are searching for legally compliant business partners. If you want to avoid legal actions in future, make sure to fill out the VPAT with utmost accuracy and honesty. Filling out the VPAT internally is not a smart decision if you lack the specific knowledge required to do so. Ideally, one can hire VPAT audit experts who can determine your compliance and help you to generate enough data to be a preferred business entity. To learn about creating a VPAT, visit the link given below.

About the Author

Justin Brandon