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Complete Guide To VPAT Compliance and Accessibility

A VPAT, or Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, is a support document used by organizations to demonstrate their compliance with accessibility laws.

In this competitive marketplace, it is important for businesses to be the #1 choice for partners and vendors. These days, a VPAT is considered a key consideration to select or reject an organization for conducting business.

Below is a list of top FAQs related to VPAT compliance, that help you to understand what exactly is a VPAT and why you need one.

What is a VPAT?

The VPAT template was developed by ITIC (Information Technology Industry Council) to assist the federal government in identifying business organizations providing accessible ITC

(Information Technology and Communication) offerings.

It helps agencies to make an informed decision based on the compliance of a vendor to different accessibility standards.

Who needs VPAT compliance?

VPAT compliance is mandatory for business organizations that deal in software, hardware, electronic content and communication services.

The VPAT was proposed to help government contracting officials. VPAT report is considered mandatory for businesses that receive funding from the federal government.

Organizations that are directly or indirectly linked with the federal government must regularly declare their VPAT compliance. Even if you are not linked with federal government funding, getting a VPAT is a beneficial procedure to attain a competitive advantage over other vendors.

What is VPAT Accessibility?

The latest version is VPAT 2.4 which has four different editions.These editions cover reporting for compliance with Section 508, WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) and EU standards for accessibility.

Based on the product range and the desired audience for VPAT accessibility, you can choose from either of the VPAT editions or opt for the VPAT INT edition which covers the compliance with all these accessibility standards.

In order to attain VPAT accessibility, you need to begin with a thorough audit of the ICT offerings. In the next stage, you can download the free to use VPAT template and fill out it correctly to generate an ACR (Accessibility Conformance Report).

What does the VPAT ACR look like?

ACR includes key information about the product, applicable accessibility standards and the evaluation methods used to test the product.The report also describes the degree of conformance to the applicable standards of digital accessibility. The terms used in describing the conformance levels are

  • Supports
  • Supports partially
  • Does not support
  • Not applicable/evaluated

How long does a VPAT audit take?

Integrity and honesty are of utmost importance when it comes to VPAT reporting. Therefore, thorough accessibility audits and remediation are necessary before generating the ACR.

The time taken in conducting the VPAT depends on the scope of the work. However, it takes around 2 weeks to complete an average sized website or native app. For an exact estimation of audit, remediation and VPAT reporting, it is best to get personalized guidance from an expert.

How often should you update your VPAT?

The usability of a VPAT report depends on the frequency of updates you release for your products or offerings.

If you have made a significant number of changes to the content, you might feel that the VPAT is no longer relevant.

Moreover, it is a good practice to conduct accessibility audits and update the VPAT every 12 months. Annual updates are helpful in covering various accessibility standards that keep releasing new updates and versions every now and then.

Bottom line Providing a VPAT ACR helps your buyers/vendors to make an informed decision based on your conformance level to the accessibility standards. To conduct a thorough accessibility audit and generate an error free ACR, visit the link given below.

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