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Tips For Filling Out A VPAT Template

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A VPAT report can be a hundred page long document. The complex and excessively lengthyrecord might sound overwhelming. Especially for businesses that try to fill out the VPAT template in-house. 

VPAT compliance has become an essential aspect to survive the competition in the dynamic digital landscape. Therefore, getting help from third party experts is highly recommended. Filling out an inaccurate or incomplete VPAT can cause serious consequences. 

What Is A VPAT?

VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) is a useful method to self-disclose the level of compliance with the digital accessibility laws for the offered products and services. 

Businesses use Section 508 VPAT when federal level procurement of information and communication technology products is involved. On the other hand, web or mobile based business organizations need WCAG VPAT which tests your offerings to demonstrate ADA compliance. 

Tips To Fill Out VPAT Correctly

Apart from the basic information like the product category, accessibility guidelines and evaluation methods used, the completed VPAT requires you to fill out every table based on the different success criteria of accessibility guidelines.  

VPAT is not a fail/pass document, you will need detailed remarks for your products based on every table of the accessibility elements. Here are some useful tips to avoid pitfalls during VPAT completion:

Relevance

It is very crucial for businesses to pick the right edition of VPAT to demonstrate the desired level of accessibility compliance. Brands doing business across borders might find VPAT 508 inefficient. Thus, VPAT INT can be selected which includes accessibility elements from every VPAT edition. Likewise, VPAT 2.0 is the most popular version however the recent release is VPAT 2.4. It is important to understand whether you need to test your website as per WCAG 2.0 or WCAG 2.2. 

Choosing the right version, the right edition and the right accessibility guideline is very important. If you can’t determine the difference, it is best to seek expert help. 

Update

It is suggested to update your VPAT on an annual basis. Moreover, if you made any major changes in your products or revamped your website, you must ensure that those changes reflect in the updated VPAT. 

Frequent revisions are best to reduce the risk of lawsuits because change is inevitable and you can observe the same for the frequently revised accessibility guidelines and the US law. 

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Remarks 

The template has one column to disclose whether the product supports or does not support the accessibility standards. However, a simple yes or no is not sufficient when it comes to VPAT reports. A detailed description or remark is required for each accessibility element.  

Most businesses make the mistake of filling out the VPAT inaccurately or have an incomplete ACR. An incomplete report is not just bad for your brand’s reputation, it also puts your company at a greater risk. You will not be able to close deals and might get into the radar of serial litigants. 

Providing an accurate and complete picture of the accessibility standards is very important. Inhouse resources might not be efficient to do so, therefore, it is best to leave it to the experts.  

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Publishing

Make your VPAT documents accessible. Even the most prominent brands like Microsoft, Apple and Google have dedicated landing pages to access information about their compliance with various digital accessibility standards. You can either post your completed ACR on your official website or provide it to potential customers on request.

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Bottom Line

VPAT is a complex document and requires in-depth domain knowledge. Rather than filling out an inaccurate or incomplete VPAT with inhouse resources, you must get in touch with seasoned accessibility specialists. To get a WCAG and 508 compliance VPAT certification, you can have a word with ADA Compliance Pros. It is the most trusted agency for thorough manual audits based on the most relevant VPAT version.

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