What Is A VPAT? What You Need To Know About VPATs & ACRs?

VPAT document.

The marketplace has become highly dynamic. In order to survive the competition, you need to be apreferred vendor. 

In this digital landscape, how do you define a preferred vendor? You must become an entity that conforms to the required digital accessibility standards. You must rank higher on the search engine results page. You must consider the accessibility barriers of disabled users and develop products with the utmost levels of accountability. VPAT certification helps you achieve all of the above. 

What Is A VPAT?

VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) is a template document used by federal agencies to compare the compliance levels of different vendors. To be able to win at the reviewing phase for the federal level procurement, you must publish the VPAT document.

There are four different editions of VPAT:

  • VPAT 508: It is used to demonstrate conformance to the digital accessibility standards defined in Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act. It is useful for businesses that primarily conduct with federal agencies. 
  • VPAT WCAG: This edition provides a template to test your products according to the accessibility guidelines used for ADA (Americans with Disability Act). The edition is useful for businesses with websites, mobile applications and a vast digital presence.
  • VPAT EN: This edition of VPAT tests your products according to the accessibility requirements described by the European Union. It is highly beneficial for entities conducting business across geographies.
  • VPAT INT: VPAT INT incorporates the testing standards of all the above mentioned editions. 

What Is An ACR?

ACR standards for Accessibility Conformance Report, it is generated by filling out the VPAT. 

VPAT is a template used for testing your products and offerings and ACR is the completed VPAT report. 

Procurement teams assess a brand’s compliance levels by reviewing the ACR. When a potential customer requests a  VPAT certification, they are technically requesting the ACR.

How To Generate An ACR?

In order to publish the ACR, you must be able to test your products against the complex criteria mentioned in the VPAT. A long series of tables is required to demonstrate your compliance levels. A VPAT document example must include the following sections:

  • VPAT title
  • VPAT edition 
  • Name of product
  • Date of publication
  • Product description
  • Evaluation methods used
  • Indication of applicable standards
  • Tabular description of guidelines standards

The tables for each accessibility guideline allow you to define whether the product supports, does not support or partially supports the criteria. 

When Is The VPAT Accessibility Required?

VPAT testing is mandatory for ICT (Information and Communication Technology) products and offerings. It is ideal to use VPAT for your website and mobile apps. It may or may not be a part of the product offering, but using a VPAT is always a proactive approach to attain a competitive edge.

How To Generate The ACR?

In order to publish the ACR, you must fill out the VPAT correctly. Inaccurate or incomplete VPATs are not useful as you cannot provide a detailed description of the conformance to the accessibility standards.

The comprehensive approach for VPAT testing includes the following methods:

  • Automated scans: There are various accessibility evaluation tools available. You can use these tools to augment the VPAT testing. However, relying on the results of automated scans won’t be much helpful to prove your compliance. 
  • Manual audits: Manual audits are performed by accessibility specialists. These individuals thoroughly evaluate every aspect of your ICT offerings to find the problem areas. 
  • Hybrid approach: It is the most preferred method for generating ACR as it offers the benefit of faster automated scans and accurate results of manual audits.

Publishing an accurate ACR is critical and needless to say complex. Contact the seasoned accessibility specialists at ADA Compliance Pros to ensure your compliance with the latest guidelines of digital accessibility.

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