What is VPAT certification?
VPAT certification is the process of measuring the extent of an electronic and information technology (EIT) product’s or service’s compliance with the established accessibility standards that are regarded as best practices in delivering accessibility to people with disabilities: the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), the Revised Section 508 compliance checker, and the European Union (EU) EN 301 549 accessibility standards.
The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) has developed four editions of the voluntary product accessibility template (VPAT) to cater to the accessibility criteria and technical specifications required of ICT products and services in various markets. This ensures that ICT manufacturers and vendors tailor their VPATs to their target markets.
In actuality, the completed VPAT template is not a VPAT certificate, even if the process of creating the VPAT document is sometimes referred to as "VPAT certification." Furthermore, it is not intended to specify a pass or fail result.Instead, it provides information on how well the product or service being evaluated complies with the relevant accessibility criteria.
VPAT certification, therefore, provides the crucial VPAT security that allows vendors and purchasers of ICT products and services to have informed discussions about the product or service during the procurement process. This means that whenever a vendor or purchaser requests VPAT certification, they are most likely referring to a duly completed VPAT.
Why should your products and services be VPAT-certified in 2023?
Making your ICT products and services accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities, is the main objective of VPAT certification. You won't be able to sell your ICT goods or services to buyers like the federal government or any of its agencies if they lack VPAT security.
Beyond the federal government and its agencies, a growing number of purchasers from outside the federal government prioritize accessibility when choosing suppliers for the products or services they need.
Based on the level of compliance shown in a specific accessibility VPAT, prospective buyers of products and services can make well-informed purchasing judgments. The proper accessibility VPAT is therefore a useful tool for promoting meaningful communication and a quicker procurement process. For any discerning vendor or maker of ICT goods or services, VPAT compliance must be demonstrated, and compliance levels must be actively improved.
The VPAT testing tool helps businesses consider and follow the best practices for accessibility and provides great insight into accessibility conformance for any organization. Regardless of a person's disability status, the toll also promotes accountability in the creation of non-discriminatory goods and services for everyone.
How to get VPAT certification
You can obtain your VPAT certification by visiting the ITI website, downloading a VPAT template, and having a member of your company or an impartial third party complete it on your behalf. By hiring an impartial third-party professional to assist you with your VPAT certification, you can be confident that you'll gain access to their expertise in digital accessibility.
It is important to note that accuracy is crucial when completing your VPAT form because failing to adequately describe the accessibility of your products or services could result in expensive lawsuits.
Hiring a third-party expert to assist you with your VPAT compliance processes will undoubtedly provide you with peace of mind and the assurance that their experience researching the intricacies of accessibility dynamics will keep your company at the top of the VPAT accessibility ladder.
In 2023, there will be a lot of accessibility specialists available online, but when deciding who to work with for your VPAT accessibility, it can be helpful to contact organizations like ADACP that have specialists who are specially trained to handle the challenging and time-consuming tasks of VPAT reporting, as are required by many procurement teams and contracting officials.
Always bear in mind that a reputable online VPAT accessibility professional will offer you a VPAT audit of your ICT products and services that is neutral and accurate and is based on the WCAG, Section 508 guidelines, and EN 301 459 accessibility requirements from the European Union.
Based on the mistakes found during the audit of the technical requirements, functional performance, and support requirements, it will also enhance the compliance of your products and services.
By conducting a critical path analysis to precisely understand your most important user flows and testing those flows using various assistive technologies on multiple user platforms, accessibility experts like ADACP will assist you in navigating the VPAT accessibility processes and provide thorough audits of the accessibility barriers in your product or service.
Need help with 2023 VPAT certification?
Reviewing a Section 508 compliance example completed by accessibility professionals may help you grasp some of the fundamentals of VPAT certification. This will give you important information about what you need to include in your VPAT document.
Should you require additional support toward the VPAT certification of your ICT products or services, feel free to consult ADACP at (626) 486-220 for assistance. They offer free VPAT consultations.