Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs)
A VPAT is a templated document that outlines a business’s conformance within information and communication technology (ICT) products and services. The VPAT is typically used to communicate the level of their products’ accessibility to potential buyers, such as government agencies, educational institutions, and other organizations that require accessible technology.
The VPAT provides detailed information about compliance with accessibility standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 or 2.1, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and other relevant accessibility regulations. It describes accommodations that specific to guidelines and expectations, as well as providing explanations for any deviations or non-compliance.
Vendors and manufacturers provide a VPAT to document their commitment to accessibility. Potential customers are able to assess the product or service’s compatibility with their own accessibility requirements.
Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR)
An ACR is typically based upon templated information included within a VPAT. The ACR will detail compliance to requirements of specific guidelines like WCAG 2.0/2.1, Section 508, EN 301 549, and others specific to location and reach. There are five identified levels of conformance within an ACR, they are:
- Partially Supports
- Does Not Support
- Not Applicable
- Not Evaluated
Each of the above includes additional details intended to explain more about the current level of conformance.
VPATs and ACRs Work Together to Advance Accessibility
VPATs and ACRs originated as a way for technology vendors to supply accessibility documentation within the U.S. government procurement process. That was two decades ago. These days, all entities accountable to various accessibility guidelines throughout the world should have VPATs and ACRs that receive assessment attention and updating at least once a year. A well-planned VPAT is used to lead the essential accessibility considerations included in a transparent, improvement-driven ACR.
The accessibility team at Americaneagle.com helps leading brands to confidently meet requirements for compliance via VPATs and ACRs that document inclusive performance.