VPAT Accessibility has become a buzzword these days. Almost every vendor with a digital presence is worried about their compliance. You must be wondering what is VPAT. Why is everyone around me concerned about aVPAT? Is it a law? What exactly are the consequences of not having a VPAT?
VPAT stands for Voluntary Product Accessibility Template.What exactly is this templateused for? Let’s discuss this in detail.
What Does It Mean To Have Avpat Certification?
The US Rehabilitation Act was revised and Section 508 was added to mandate the creation, management and procurement of accessible information and communication technology products.
The Revised Standards of Section 508 mandates the use of VPAT to market any ICT products to the federal government. In simple words, if a business doesn’t have a VPAT certification, they are not allowed to sell hardware, software, electronic documents and supporting documentation to a federal agency or any other business that receives funds from the federal government.
How Many Types Of VPAT Editions Are There?
VPAT is managed by the Information and Technology Industry (ITI) Council. The group created VPAT with accessibility standards relevant to the chapters of Section 508. Below are the available editions that are used by vendors to confirm their accessibility compliance.
- VPAT 508: It includes the accessibility standards mentioned in the revised chapters of Section 508 and WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). It is a commonly recognized accessibility guideline used to confirm compliance with the ADA (Americans with the Disability Act).
- VPAT WCAG: This edition of VPAT specifically adheres to the WCAG guidelines. The versions that are tested for this edition of VPAT certification are WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1.
- VPAT EU: In this edition, vendors test their products based on EN 301549 standards along with WCAG. EN standards are accessibility guidelines defined by the European Union for public procurement of ICT offerings.
- INT: INT edition is useful for vendors who like to incorporate the accessibility standards of all the above mentioned guidelines.
VPAT Section 508 edition is useful for a business that majorly deals with the federal government. Whereas if your key demographic is mobile customers, you must consider testing your offerings against the VPAT WCAG template. If a business is instrumental in the international market, using VPAT EN or VPAT INT will be useful for them.
Why Is VPAT Testing Important?
Businesses of all scales have adopted the standards of VPAT. Testing the products based on VPAT guidelines is essential because it protects you from the risk of expensive lawsuits and penalties.
Digital accessibility violationsare costing huge financial and reputational losses to businesses. Even bigger brands like Domino, Nike and Walmart have faced legal repercussions.
Apart from making you legally immune, VPAT testing is beneficial for your business as it offers a competitive edge. You become a trusted and preferable vendor.
Moreover, testing your website against VPAT WCAG guidelines means you are developing an ADA compliant website. This eventually offers SEO benefits. In other words, VPAT helps you rank higher on search engines.
How VPAT Is Used By Your Customers?
You will need to generate an ACR (Accessibility Conformance Report) after you have conducted VPAT testing. The ACR is then published on your official website. A VPAT needs to be correctly filled because the ACR you publish is thoroughly reviewed by the technology and accessibility specialists. An incomplete or inaccurate ACR can put you and your potential customers at legal risk.
How Do You Get A VPAT?
Getting a VPAT certification is simple. Accessibility experts first need to evaluate your products and then download the VPAT to fill out and generate the ACR. However, in-depth domain knowledge is essential for accurate and complete ACR.
If you are clueless about the latest accessibility guidelines, connecting with ADA Compliance Pros is the wisest decision. They have audit experts who can thoroughly assess your website and suggest remediation to generate an impressive ACR. Contact the audit experts at ADACP right now to save yourself from the risk of litigation.